TV Shows

What happened to Mr. Robot?

July 31, 2016
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Just like everyone else, I was enamored with the first season of Mr. Robot. Elliot Alderson, the unstable, ingenious, drug-addicted web hacker who dropped Evil Corp to its knees, captivated a nation and became the de facto hero of a debt-free nation. Elliot (and his Mr. Robot alter ego), along with his merry band of fsociety misfits, took down the world’s biggest capitalist conglomerate while capturing the attention of the FBI, making an enemy of an economic powerhouse, and dancing with a mercenary hacker group known as the Dark Army.

But….is that what really happened? Maybe…the truth is that season two has left too much up to the imagination. It’s already 4 episodes in and I’m more confused now than ever before. Some could say that’s the sign a good television show, where it gives you just enough so you keep coming back for more, but not enough to understand anything! Me — I’m on the fence about it! I loved season one so much that I’ll invest myself for season two even though the episodes are pretty boring and uncover things at an alarmingly slow rate!

Now, for those of you who are in the hacking world, or know a little bit about it, you’ll know that Mr. Robot brings to the silver screen a pretty realistic and accurate view of hacking. To read more about that, I’ll transfer you to a post here – The Unusually Accurate Portrait of Hacking on USA’s Mr. Robot — check it out, cool read! But I’m not here to talk about its accuracy, I’m here to ask what happened to it. What happened to Mr. Robot? Are people liking this second season, or are they hating it? Again, I’m on the fence, either it’s the worst follow up season to an award winning first one, or it’s the most brilliant sequel season to have ever graced television history. I’ve got thoughts on that later!

But before that, let’s recap season one of Mr. Robot…

Okay, as we all know, season one was just phenomenal. It. Was. Awesome. Period. It takes place in probably the greatest city on earth, NYC, and is riddled with shady characters, uncovered truths, and accurate hacking lingo, which just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Each episode is titled like a computer format file: eps1.0_hellofriend.mov, eps1.1_ones-and-zer0es.mpeg, eps1.2_d3bug.mkv, etc. The first episode we are introduced to Elliot, who’s the main protagonist. He’s a weirdo too, but hey, aren’t most hackers? He works for a company called All-Safe that does cyber-security for the biggest conglomerate in the world, Evil Corporation. More about them later!

Elliot in his ominous hoodie

Elliot also hacks people’s social media, email, and personal accounts, but he does it to “get close to them” like he eventually tells his therapist. But he also does it to take down rotten m*the#[email protected]!! like the one at the end of episode one who distributed child porn.

During the first few episodes, we are introduced to the merry band of eccentric outsiders that make up fsociety including:

  • Darlene – Elliot’s sister (that we don’t find out about until close to the end of the season when Elliot forgets she’s his sister and tries to kiss her, ewww!), she’s the elusive, dark, part-goth hacker who is kinda like Elliot’s right hand and has a strange connection with the unscrupulous Dark Army.
  • Romero – the weed-smoking/dealing, wily hacker who isn’t completely sure of Elliot.
  • Mobley – a DJ, a hacker, tech support for E. Corp, a trusted internet source who can post anything to Wikipedia, and a loyal soldier to the cause of taking E. Corp down!
  • Trenton – the Persian hacker who doesn’t say much, but believes in what fsociety is doing.
  • Mr. Robot – aha! The leader of fsociety, and Elliot’s alter-ego. But we don’t find this out until the second or third to last episode of the season. Wonderfully played by Christian Slater.

Now remember, in season one, Elliot was being recruited by fsociety. We don’t find out until later that he is the leader of fsociety. And that truth, that Elliot is kinda crazy, calls into question if any of it was really real? I mean, did they even take down Evil Corp.? I’m getting ahead of myself.

We meet some other people in the first season too:

  • Angela – Elliot’s childhood friend and co-worker, she got Elliot the job at All-Safe.
  • Terry Colby – the CTO of E. Corp. who gets set up for hacking into E. Corp’s system
  • Tyrell Wellick – The interim CTO after Colby gets arrested, and a hacker as well (or a guy who really knows his computers). When he meets Elliot he tells him he uses a “Linux box” which Elliot admires.
  • Gideon Goddard – Elliot’s boss at All-Safe
  • Shayla – Elliot’s neighbor and drug-dealer (sort of), they also end up having a relationship.
  • Cisco – Darlene’s ex-boyfriend and kind of a liaison between fsociety and the Dark Army.
  • Philip Price – the CEO of E. Corp. He’s super cryptic and really quite creepy. We see a lot more of him in season two.
  • Krista – Elliot’s shrink who is super nice and mild mannered. Elliot hacks her life and ends a relationship (in an illegal way) that could’ve been really devastating for Krista. She does not turn Elliot in to the authorities.

Each and every episode in season one unveils another piece to the puzzle. Another progression in the plot to take down a corporate giant. Another cog in the wheel that keeps the story spinning. Throughout the unfolding season one, there are so many surprises that keep you mystified yet makes you feel like you’re getting closer to the truth.

Crazy (and awesome) surprises in season one (if you haven’t watched season one and plan to, stop reading – NOW!!):

  1. Elliot meets the hacker group fsociety through a rudimentary hack of All-Safe systems to infiltrate E. Corp. and ends up leaving the file where it’s found (which fsociety asks him to do).
  2. Elliot meets Shayla’s connect and supplier of morphine, Fernando Vera (he’s a big asshat!), who abuses Shayla, so Elliot puts a stop to that by alerting the cops to his stash of drugs and his online social selling of them.
  3. Tyrell Wellick enjoys beating up homeless guys, but at least he pays them to do so — weird, man!
  4. Terry Colby covered up a toxic waste leak that gave hundreds of people leukemia including Elliot’s father and Angela’s mother, so that’s how we understand their tight connection.
  5. Angela infects All-Safe’s systems using her infidelious (not sure if that’s a word) boyfriend’s computer. His name is Ollie and he’s not really important. He’s an asshat too!
  6. Vera kidnaps and subsequently kills Shayla to get Elliot to hack him out of prison because someone puts a “hit” out on Vera. Which ultimately ends up being his own brother (Isaac Vera) who wants Vera dead. Vera kills his brother and escapes. My guess is that we haven’t seen the last of Fernando.
  7. Tyrell Wellick kills the wife of Scott Knowles (the new CTO of Evil Corp chosen for the position instead of Wellick) and eventually becomes a suspect in that murder, rightfully so.
  8. Angela does some shady shit to get Terry Colby to confess that E. Corp covered up the toxic waste leak. She essentially sells her soul to the devil (Evil Corp) to get a PR job there, which in season two, she excels at. I definitely want to know where this is going.
  9. Gideon (Elliot and Angela’s boss) is suspicious about the story Elliot spun about the hack on Evil Corp and turns the hacked server into a honeypot. Typically, a honeypot is a mechanism set in place to detect some sort of behavior or action. In this case, Elliot did not realize that Gideon was on to him and that kinda screwed up the relationship with the Dark Army.
  10. Elliot fixes the relationship with the Dark Army by meeting with Whiterose, a transgender woman who is obsessed with time, she allocates one minute for Elliot’s meeting and he pleads his case convincing her to resume the aid of the hack.
  11. Elliot Alderson is Mr. Robot, who is the persona of his dead father, but I mentioned this already! Darlene is Elliot’s sister.
  12. Tyrell Wellick (oh and I forgot to mention his wife is into BDSM, she scares me!!) ends up getting fired from E. Corp but starts to work with Elliot to take them down.
  13. Elliot blacks out for 3 days and ends up waking up in Wellick’s SUV. He has no memory of the hack on Evil Corp., which apparently succeeded throwing the world into chaos. And Tyrell Wellick is no where to be found!
  14. The final scene in the final episode in season one shows Elliot opening the door after someone knocks on it, but we never see the visitor. As the credits roll, we see Whiterose dressed as a man talking with Philip Price (E. Corp’s CEO) about the hack – very interested in this!!

As you can see, there were many surprises and they were spaced out beautifully in the first season. Each episode gave you answers, but also left more questions. It was really awesome to see the hack succeed. Now onto season two!

Season Two of Mr. Robot…does it make any sense?

Season two opened with an extended episode (or two episodes put together). And Elliot is out of the hacking game, he’s gone analog! He purposely took himself out of the game because when he’s not his alter-ego, he cares about the world and what happens to it. He doesn’t want to do bad (or what heElliot and Mr. Robot playing chessperceives as bad, because let’s face it, if the credit card companies got taken to their knees, it wouldn’t be horrible. Well, I’m not entirely sure about that!) things, and thinks that Mr. Robot is ruining his life and the life of others.

Elliot moves in with his mother, where there is no internet, no computers, nothing he could get his hands on except for notebooks that he writes in constantly. He is still seeing Krista, his mild mannered shrink, and is telling her the truth about what he feels, thinks, and sees. She is trying to help him through it. But we also see a few new players come in in season two:

  • Leon – what appears to be Elliot’s best friend from the neighborhood. Leon just discovered Seinfeld and likes to talk about it a lot to Elliot.
  • Ray – (played by the funny Craig Robinson, who isn’t that funny in this!) is a person from the neighborhood who recruits Elliot to do a migration of his website. We don’t know what type of a website Ray has, but it’s definitely shady because he employs some ruffian tactics with his previous web developer and has a tough-looking thug accompany Elliot while he’s doing the migration.
  • Dominique – the pretty, ambitious, young, and feisty FBI agent who is hot on the trail of fsociety because of her investigation into the E. Corp hack.
  • Elliot’s mother – she just sits on the couch and watches TV. But Elliot tells us she’s “tough.”
  • Susan Jacobs – E. Corp’s head council, she’s known as the “Madame Executioner” because she’s stops lawsuits from impacting Evil Corp and in a lot of those lawsuits people died.

I didn’t really like the first episode of Mr. Robot’s season two. Why? Because it didn’t really answer any questions. But apparently my opinion doesn’t really matter because based on this first episode, season two received critical acclaim. Huh? Really? Let’s recap the two-part episode one of season two.

Episodes 1& 2 of Mr. Robot’s Season Two…

Tyrell Wellick records an fsociety video that’s sent out to the world taking credit for the E. Corp hack. Tyrell Wellick has disappeared. Elliot maintains a really boring routine living at his mother’s house, he gets up every morning, has lunch with Leon, visits with his church group, then watches the basketball games at the neighborhood courts. He is essentially trying to beat his own mind, or Mr. Robot, from rearing his ugly head and doing anymore damage than he already has. So he doesn’t go near computers and writes everything down in his journals.

fsociety hacks into Susan Jacobs smart home, where they turn her music up, turn her temperature down, scold her with hot water in the shower, etc. She ends up leaving her posh New York house and goes to her other place outside the city. fsociety take up residence and make her smart home their temporary headquarters. They then execute a hack on E. Corp’s bank and ransom their money, making Scott Knowles burn 5.9 million dollars in the middle of Central Park donning an fsociety mask. 5/9 is significant because May 9th is when the E. Corp hack was executed.

Angela continues to climb up the company ladder at E. Corp by not making nice with her co-workers. She Angela at E. Corp officesis shrewd and different than she was in season one. She talks with news outlets demanding certian interview questions not be asked and the like. It also appears like she’s abandoned the lawsuit she really wanted to go after in season one.

Gideon meets with Elliot, he tells him that he needs to “do the right thing” and tell the FBI what he knows. Gideon has been cooperating with the Feds and Agent Dominique. While Gideon is at a bar, he meets a guy and they make small talk for a few minutes. Then the guy takes out a gun and shoots Gideon in the throat, killing him! The last scene in the two-part series opener is the phone ringing and Elliot picking it up. The voice on the other end of the line says “Bon-sour, Elliot” and is clearly Tyrell Wellick’s voice.

I know, right?!? WTF is going on???

The next two episodes are even more confusing. We find out the Romero is dead, it looks like someone shot him in the face. Did Elliot kill Romero, remember when Mr. Robot pointed a gun a Romero? Well…that was actually Elliot doing that! Dominque also finds fsociety’s arcade headquarters, that they threw a party at to cover their tracks. But the FBI finds a shell casing!

We see that Whiterose and Philip Price are clearly working together, Whiterose telling Price to “stay on schedule” – whatever that means. We see more of Joanna Wellick, Tyrell’s BDSM wife, who is trying to get Tyrell’s severance pay from Scott Knowles, who won’t pay up because of his grief over his wife’sWhiterose, Mr. Robot murder that really looks more like vengeance and not grief.

We have no idea what’s going on in Elliot’s head. He is kidnapped by government looking agents in black Suburbans that take him to a warehouse and shove wet sand down his throat. But it’s actually all in his mind and Mr. Robot is trying to get him to throw up the Adderall pills that he took that ultimately help him ignore Mr. Robot’s tempting pleas to get back on a computer.

Ray is super shady and is trying to recruit Elliot, but we’re not sure what type of business he’s in. We don’t know how Leon and Elliot met, but they are best of friends (if Elliot could really have friends) and they hang out pretty much all the time. Mobley finds Romero’s body and thinks it’s the Dark Army hunting fsociety down, so he (along with Trenton) start to doubt Elliot and also Darlene.

Philip Price invites Angela to dinner with a few of E. Corp’s executives. At the end of that dinner, Price gives Angela a disc that contains incriminating evidence on the two execs they went to dinner with and implicates them in the toxic waste leak coverup. Elliot and Mr. Robot play chess for the ultimate price of Elliot’s mind and control, nobody wins! But Elliot finally gets back on a computer and helps Ray, only to find that he’s doing some shady stuff! Oh boy, here we go again!

Thoughts on Mr. Robot…

I’m not sure where this will lead. As seen in season one, there were so many twists and turns (in a good way) that really kept you guessing, but it also gave you something every episode. Season Two just seems to take. It doesn’t give you much of anything, but I’m still invested because I need to know what’s going on.

Evil Corp definitely doesn’t seem to be out of the game. And with fsociety needing new digs, they seem to be on the defensive. They really need to be on the offensive and continue to clobber Evil Corp. In the Evil Corp's logo - Mr. Robotfourth (last) episode, Elliot (in a flashback) said that the hard part would be after the attack. Not the attack itself, but the fallout. That fsociety would have to keep up the pressure. The only problem is that Elliot isn’t keeping up the pressure, Darlene is trying to do that. But as we all know, there is no better hacker than Elliot Alderson.

I think there was a turning point in the last (fourth) episode of season two. Elliot finally got back on a computer. That’s what this season needs—Elliot online!!!!! Because let’s face it, without Elliot doing what he does best (hack), the balance wouldn’t work. We need Elliot online to get this season going again. Elliot needs to let Mr. Robot take control, and conquer the big bad wolf that is Evil Corp. That’s the only way I see this show getting to where it needs to go. But the writers might have different plans.

I know this — if Elliot doesn’t get hacking again soon. People are going to get hurt, more so than the ones who’ve already been hurt. People are going to get caught too! But, I guess you could say that if Elliot gets back to hacking as well.

Again, I’m not sure where this season is going, but I want to tell Elliot one thing: Elliot, for the sake of your viewers, get yourself up and get yourself together, it’s time to hack the world!

Is Netflix Taking Over The World?

June 27, 2016
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The summer of 1995 was a good summer! I was 14 and I mowed lawns all summer long. Every Friday my mom would drive me down to Blockbuster Video, so I could rent a boat ton a movies to keep me busy for the entire week. Honestly, I must’ve spent over $1,000 that summer. Oh, the memories….and the hours spent watching movies. As a sidenote—for those of you who were born in the mid to late 90’s, I don’t expect you to remember Blockbuster Video, but bear with me and I’ll explain.

What is a netflix?

In my last year of high school I remember hearing about this service called Netflix, it would drop a movie in your mailbox and then you could return it when you were finished watching it. I remember thinking “man, that’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard of, people will just keep the movies and not return them, ha!” – Boy was I dead wrong, of course, I was also 17 and knew nothing about technology or innovation.

Then this little company took root and got traction. More and more people started using it, people like my parents. I can still remember the first movie we got through the mail (it was Zoolander) and we slowly started to scale back on going to BlockBuster Video as much.

What were you thinking, Blockbuster?

The interesting thing is that in 2000 Netflix was offered up to Blockbuster for $50 million! But, little ol’ Blockbuster declined. So Netflix came out with an IPO, or initial public offering in 2002 selling 5.5 million shares of stocks at $15 a pop. And for those of you who don’t know—an IPO is when a company goes public and offers shares of the company to the public.

Now, for those of you who remember Blockbuster, you’ll remember the sections they used to have. Obviously there were the New Releases, there were Action, Comedy, Horror, Drama, the list goes on…and you might remember the “employee’s recommendation” section. At my Blockbuster, there was Dave. Dave always made the best recommendations. Movies like True Romance, The Big Lebowski, and Heat. But what Netflix did was virtualize that whole process and made it custom to you—the user! Pretty neat, eh?

Basically, Netflix maintains this system of reviews and ratings. They have an algorithm they dubbed “Cinematch” – clever, very clever. Users can rate a movie from 1 to 5 stars (1 being bad, 5 being fantastic), then Netflix will pull out (or mine) the data. Based on a user’s prior movie preferences and the ratings that they give those movies, Cinematch will predict what movies a user is more likely to want to watch and serve those movies up. It’s kinda cool, but then there’s that part of me that thinks I might be missing out on something if this experience is super personalized. Of course, personalization is what most users want. And Netflix has given it to us!

“The problem with binge-watching Netflix…is that you lose 3 days of your life.”

Then Netflix came out with “streaming” and this revolutionized the way humans watch TV. Netflix (and Amazon Prime) made things like cable, commercials, and network TV not as glamorous. If I can quote Wikipedia – “By 2010, Netflix’s streaming business had grown so quickly that within months the company had shifted from the fastest-growing customer of the United States Postal Service’s first-class mail service to the biggest source of Internet traffic in North America in the evening.” — That’s pretty crazy! Being a member of Netflix, I know you are allowed to have different profiles on your account. Profiles make it easy for you to share your Netflix account with your girlfriend (or whoever) and have different streaming experiences. Again, experiences that are personalized and tailored to you.

In 2013, Netflix started its own award ceremony called The Flixies. The ceremony honors the viewing habits of its users. Certain categories include Best Bromance, Best Guilty Pleasure, and Best Marathon TV Show to name a few. Haha – that’s all I have to say about that!

Now with the advent of streaming, Netflix had to finagle some pretty interesting and expensive movie/tv rights to the shows it’s allowed to have on their service. They had to make exclusive “pay TV window” deals with both major and midline studios that offered certain streaming rights, which (mind you) are different than distribution rights.

Now we see Netflix start making their own films. They first started out with House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright Penn as the “thick as thieves” husband and wife political duo and Americans went bonkers over it. Then came Orange is the New Black and Americans went bonkers over that too. Then shows like Daredevil (which I went bonkers over!) and Jessica Jones, Bloodline, and Marco Polo. They also came out with comedy like the series follow up to Wet Hot American Summer, and Fuller House. Netflix has a boat ton of kids shows that are all original. They also picked up a few series that got canceled like Longmire, The Killing, and Arrested Development. We also see Netflix making feature films as well.

What’s next for Netflix?

So…what is next for Netflix? As of right now, Netflix services over 190 countries world-wide. They have over 70 million subscribers. They are also coming out with about 70 or so new TV shows and about 30 new feature films. Wow! And that doesn’t include documentaries, specials, or mini-series. So, wow, again!

In my opinion, Netflix is taking over the world, but that’s not it. They’re taking over cable TV, all I watch on cable is the news, but there are so many other channels/outlets for that. They’ve taken over Hollywood, well kinda, they are making a lot of movies and TV shows, and quite frankly I can’t remember the last good movie that came out of Hollywood. So, Netflix started as a mail service, it would drop a DVD in your mailbox and you could return it whenever you were finished watching it. Now, Netflix is a global company that’s worth more than CBS. And I don’t think this monolithic multi-media giant has any intention of slowing down. Hey, it works for me as long as I can watch my programs!!

Top TV Shows Ever!

June 17, 2016
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And the top T.V. shows list continues…

Only this time, it’s the top tv shows ever, of all time! I know, I know..how can you really tell what the greatest tv shows of all time are? Well…I’ll start by saying this… these TV shows are the ones I love the most and have watched them over and over again.

So, a few guidelines for this:

  • The TV shows have to be over, that means no more episodes to come, otherwise it could end up sucking well after this post is already written
  • There will be no sitcoms in this list, not to say there might not be comedy (actually there probably won’t be), but no sitcoms
  • This can be both cable network TV shows and premium channel TV shows, obviously channels like HBO and Showtime have some really kickass shows

That’s it for the guidelines. But one quick note, I couldn’t get the ordered list to go from 5 to 1, so it goes from 1 to 5, however, this is a countdown. Out of my top five favorite TV shows, number 1 here, is actually my number 5, get it? Ok, cool! Without further ado, let’s just get right to it.

The Top TV Shows Ever

  1. Sons of Anarchy (2008 – 2014): Hands down, the best motorcycle club TV show ever. I actually think this might be the only motorcycle club TV show ever, but I’d have to think about it. Well, there is American Chopper and CHiPs, but those don’t compare to the ultimate motorcycle club show. SOA was just awesome! It follows the lives of the men of SAMCRO (Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Originals), yeah…it’s a mouthful. Sons of Anarchy Everything rotated around a little town called Charming (a fictional town located somewhere outside San Fransisco), it’s where SAMCRO was headquartered and their fearless leader, Jackson “Jax” Teller (well, not until season 5), took care of business. This show had just about every known criminal element in it: Motorcycle gangs, the IRA, the Mexican Drug Cartels, street gangs, white supremacists, and more! As the seasons progressed, we see a lot of crazy shit happen. The club kills its own president, Jax kills his own mother because she killed Jax’s wife. Oh, the bloodshed! But it was well done, and well worth the hours I spent watching it! Bravo, FX, bravo!
  2. Carnivàle (2003 – 2005): This is one you may not be familiar with because it was only on HBO for 2 short seasons, but man, it had quite the impact on me! Carnivàle takes place amidst the Great Carnivàle tv show Depression and Dust Bowl era. It follows one lone carnival team of misfits, weirdos, bearded ladies, psychics, and more (aptly named Carnivàle). In the first episode, the carnival stops in a town called Milfay where they pick up a young man named Ben Hawkins. Ben is a healer, but doesn’t understand the magnitude of his power until Management (the unknown entity that runs Carnivàle) tells him what’s he’s capable of. The other story line follows a preacher that has his own special powers, which are seeing people’s darkest secrets and bringing them to light. The ending episode brings these two stories together and culminates in a show down between good and evil! It’s just a super cool exploration of the powers that man could possess if they weren’t actually men, lol! And the fact that it’s got Carnies, and takes place during the Great Depression, just makes this show so much worth watching. It’s cool, creepy, suspenseful, and has an awesome ending!
  3. Dexter (2006 – 2013): Ah — the killer of killers, the man of all men, Dexter! Yeayah! This show was awesome for a couple of different reasons. 1). Dexter gets soooo much justice. I mean, he really does. He goes after the bad guys!! Granted, he’s a bad guy, but not really. 2). Dexter is a serial Dexter's face wrapped in plastic wrapkiller…with morals, he’s got a moral code. Granted, his father had to instill that into him over years and years of practice, but he finally got it! The show really does make you root for the serial killer. Dexter works as a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Police Department, where each season he encounters new enemies and serial killers. He also has to keep an eye out for his crazy sister, played by the lovely Jennifer Carpenter, and his girlfriend who has her own baggage as well as some kids that love Dexter. But every season brings another overarching story line, while Dexter still manages to kill on a weekly basis. Scouting out killers, he gets absolute proof of their ungodly deeds, and then wrapping them in plastic on a murder board where he usually yields a weapon that’s fitting for that particular prey. All in all, it’s provocatively suspenseful and wonderfully amusing. And I must say, I didn’t mind the ending. Everyone seems to have hated this ending, but not I! I actually thought it was rather befitting. Everyone thinks Dexter dies in the hurricane, but he fakes his own death and gets to continue doing what he does best…kill killers!
  4. Breaking Bad (2008 – 2013): Say my name…I’m the man that killed Gus Fring.  Walter White, the most deadliest chemist to ever have graced our living rooms! This TV show was almost number one, almost! When it first started, I didn’t know what to think of it. Here’s this high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with cancer, and he wants to leave his family with some cash before he dies. Well…we all know how that turned out. Instead of doing what he set out to do, Walter White became the meth kingpin of Albuquerque. Going up against mid level dealers first, then taking on the cartel themselves, and finally ending in a hail of gunfire with the white supremacist gang he hired for muscle. Wow, was this show just fantastic. The acting was phenomenal. WalterWhite&JessePinkmanBryan Cranston was superb in his role as the unassuming chemist morphing into the bad-ass Heisenberg. And then there was Aaron Paul, as Jesse Pinkman, so conflicted about his role in Walter White’s transformation and the bodies that start dropping, he starts using and abusing the drug they’re cooking up. The dynamic between the two of these characters really made for great television. I believe they both won some Emmy’s, as well they should! I’m not sure America will ever have a show quite like this for years, if not decades, to come.
  5. The Wire (2002 – 2008): And the number one spot goes to…..The Wire! If you haven’t seen this series, then you really have no idea what you are missing out on. This TV show is by far, hands down, the best television show ever written in the history of TV. I know, bold statement, right? Just watch the show. It’s an in-depth character study of the people and life on the streets of big bad Baltimore. the police of the tv show 'the wire'All 5 seasons follow the players of the West Baltimore drug trade and the street level dealers. But each season is a different aspect of Baltimore infrastructure; Season 1 is the police, season 2 is the Baltimore port (the docks), season 3 is the politics, season 4 the school system, and season 5 the newspaper. So each season we see new faces and new characters among the old ones. Major characters will die off halfway through a season, it’s crazy. But for the most part it shows the efforts the police take to stop the drug dealers and the discipline the dealers adhere to to not get caught. It’s written by a guy who used to work for the newspaper in Baltimore and report on the police beat. It’s such a realistic view of life in Baltimore (actually, I have no idea because I’ve only driven through Baltimore), but from what I’ve heard The Wire hits really close to home for Baltimore street life. The series even uses real reformed criminals as some of the characters. There are literally dozens and dozens of characters in this series to name. But here are a few: McNulty – the hard drinking and whoring police detective that constantly pisses off his bosses; Bubbles – the drug addicted street merchant with a heart of gold who runs around all day selling whatever he can to get his fix; Omar – actually based on a real person, is the homosexual stick-up artist who robs drug dealers and whistles “the cheese stands alone” as a mantra when he’s on the warpath; Herc and Carver – the two street busting cops who are stupid yet smart at the same time; Avon Barksdale – the drug kingpin of West Baltimore whothe drug dealers of the tv show 'the wire' gets sentenced to prison time in season one; Bodie – one of Barksdale’s soldiers; Ronnie – the pretty DA woman who litigates the drug dealers and falls in love with Lieutenant Daniels, the African-American rising star of the police force, but still has a little dirt on him; Kima Greggs – the lesbian cop who isn’t ready to settle down; Stringer Bell – the gentleman business gangster and the right hand man of Avon; Lester Freamon – the real police who got put into the “evidence unit” after he ran afoul of his bosses; Marlo Stanfield – the young kingpin who takes over the Barksdale territory; Snoop – the weirdest talking Baltimore woman gangster you’ll ever hear; and the list just goes on and on and on…. But as the seasons tick by, you’ll be surprised at every turn because those who deserve it in this show, rarely ever get it in the end, but isn’t that how life goes? I’ve watched this series a few times and every time it gets better and better! Oh, and Method Man’s in it and he plays a real prick….he gets it in the end!

I know what you are thinking, it must have taken me a long time to watch all those episodes, and you’re right, it did. But every hour sure was worth it! I live vicariously through the characters on these television shows as I imagine most any of us do. I hope you enjoyed the list I put together for you and I hope you agree with at least one of these TV shows being on your top 5 list of all time! Let me know!

Top 5 TV Show List – The 1990’s

April 27, 2016
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A new series on my favorite TV shows, aww yeah!!

*Disclaimer: Friends will not be on this list*

Hahahaha – I can’t stop laughing!! Why didn’t I think of this sooner! I’m not sure, I guess my first love has always been movies. What you can’t wrap up in an hour and a half, shouldn’t be filmed, ya know? Wrong!! There are some really great TV shows that I remember growing up. They carried me through my childhood, were my best friends, also my worst enemies, and at times my most non-judgmental babysitter. They are my top 5 TV shows – The 90’s – yup, that’s right!

MUPPET BABIES, 1984-1991
Muppet Babies!

But let me clarify – I’m going to call out TV shows between the years 1990 and 1999 with a grace period of 2 years – because let’s face it…if I do shows pre-1988, well…I was 7 (and younger), I’d most likely reference shows like Thundercats, He-man, and the Muppet Babies. Which, mind you, were all great TV shows, but maybe that’s a post for another day—my Top 5 TV Show List – The Toddler Years.

So, moving on to the list! And let me start by saying there were some real contenders here. My So-Called Life, Dawson’s Creek, The Wonder Years, Party of Five, Martin, Quantum Leap, the list goes on. I had to dig deep, way back to the fringes of my pop-cultured subconscious to come up with this list. Read on, my friends, and prosper. Let the journey begin.

Drum roll…..please….no particular order.

The Top 5 TV Shows:

The 1990’s
  1. Seinfeld (1989-1998): Could you not see this coming? Well, you should have! It’s a show about nothing, so how could it not be the best? Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer. Some of the most sincere people I ever had the pleasure of watching from the outside. I mean, these guys are really pitiful. They complain, they nitpick, they can’t settle down, they push kids and old ladies out of the way when the kitchen’s on fire. They are, in essence, all of us…..well, maybe that’s harsh. But they’re most of us, and man are they right on!seinfeld crewSo – here is the whole crew, in their own craziness, but by God, I love them. Each and everyone of them! For those of you who don’t know, they all end up in prison for one year for violating the Good Samaritan law (they taped a fat guy getting robbed by another guy with his hand in his pocket, while making fun of the guy who was getting robbed). Seinfeld, hands down, one of the best TV sitcoms ever!
  2. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1991 – 1995): ….In West Philadelphia, born and raised, on the playground was where I spent most of my days…I pulled up to a house about 7 or 8 and I yelled to the cabbie “yo, holmes, smell ya later..” Man, I could sing that song all day. And I did…and it drove my mom crazy! But here was a show that caught me right between my adolescence and early teenage years. I wanted to be Will, I was in love with Hilary, Uncle Phil was cool in his own way. There were two Aunt Vivian’s, which I always thought was weird, but that wasn’t really the focal point, was it? No! It was Carlton, the whitest white person ever! Just kiddin’! Overall, this show was full of laughter and joy and comedy. But there were some serious ones. Like the episode when Will got shot and Carlton started packing, but it was still kinda funny! Also the episode where Will’s dad comes back and then doesn’t take him on the road trip. I think this has been classified as one of the saddest Fresh Prince scenes ever!
    But it was still a great TV show, great show! And I’ll still haven’t stopped singing the theme song!
  3. The X-Files (1993 – who knows): The X-FilesDo—doo—do—doo—do—dooo (*insert whistling). Scully and Mulder are so hot right now! Yeah, buddy! I always knew they would bring this show back. It was just too good to let go. Aliens, the supernatural, El Chupacabra, more aliens, weird stuff, more weird stuff, this show was (is) awesome! With a capital AWE!! On every episode some mystical, unexplainable thing would take place, it would usually start with a murder or an abduction – Fox would come up some crazy theory on how it actually happened (and he’d be right!), then Scully would defunct it with her own scientific train of thought (which would be bullshit!). Now, on top of the cool, mysterious episodes there was this overarching storyline of Mulder’s sister who was abducted by aliens, but….well now that I think of it, I can’t remember what happened. There was a guy who smoked a lot, I know that! Ah… who cares—cause it’s back now! Sah-weet!!!
  4. Home Improvement (1991 – 1999): Tim “The Toolman” Taylor and his grunt (Ooo, oough, ough) was the only reason to watch this show because, let’s face it, he was a man’s man! Tim has Tim "The Toolman" Taylor and Alhis own home improvement show within the sitcom. Kind of like a show within a show. He would try to fix things, break stuff, and then Al would come to the rescue! Al was cool too, but in a square kinda way. And Mr. Wilson (I think his name was Wilson Wilson) who would solve all of Tim’s problems, but we would never see his face! And there was Jill, played by Patricia Richardson, she was an intelligent woman and we have no idea what she was doing with Tim (well…that’s not true, he was the man and he had his own show called “Tool Time”). The show dealt with all types of issues especially surrounding the 3 children. I stopped watching this show like halfway through the series because I got to a point where I feel like I out grew it, but from about 91 to 95, I totally dug it! And I think it won some awards, like Golden Globes. I wonder where the kids are now!
  5. Ally McBeal (1997 – 2002): I watched this show in my high school years, there was something other worldly about this show. Something…special. It was out there, if you know what I mean? Ally, she was this young lawyer working at the Boston law firm, Cage and Fish. On her first day of work she finds out that she’ll be working with her ex-boyfriend (who she’s still in love with) and that he has a fiancé who is also a lawyer! Oh boy!! But there was weird stuff going on in this TV show like a unisex bathroom (weird, right?), Ally fainting when she met people, the fantasy sequences, and then the endless romance and dating of everyone in the firm, man!! But when I was 17, I loved it! Absolutely loved it, and then in walks Lucy Liu – and I still love her, to this very day (can’t get enough of Elementary). Ling Woo was apparently not only a breakout role for Liu, but it signified the beginning of a strong Asian woman in television, so that’s cool!Cast of Ally McBealEither way, the show was enjoyable to watch and different than anything I had seen on TV up until that point. If you haven’t had a chance to check this show out, see if Netflix is streaming it!

So, all in all, those are the top 5 TV shows I remember from the 90’s. You may not like anyone of these, and that’s okay! Some of you may like every single one of them, and that’s okay too! But, on another note, it was difficult to whittle down this list, so I think this will be a series like I said in the beginning. Greatest TV shows – The Toddler Years. Top TV shows on Netflix streaming, etc. – I can do a lot there!

Peace out!