13 Reason Why Review

The series, not the book.

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13 REASONS WHY (2017)

Creator: Bryan Yorkey

Based on the book by: Jay Asher

Starring: Dylan Minnette, Katherine Langford, Christian Navarro, Alisha Boe, Brandon Flynn, Justin Prentice, Miles Heizer, Ross Butler, Devin Druid, Amy Hargreaves, Derek Luke & Kate Walsh

Synopsis (IMDb): “Follows teenager Clay Jensen, in his quest to uncover the story behind his classmate and crush, Hannah, and her decision to end her life.”

SPOILER-FREE as always.

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I binged Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why in one sitting, so obviously it is not bad. I’m not exactly in a target group as I’m not a teenager or even close but then again, I still enjoy watching silly teen dramas. Then again, 13 Reasons is not silly. At all. It’s quite sad and not the easiest to watch. There are even warnings before some of the episodes. But still it gets you hooked. Or at least it got me and quite many of my friends.

I haven’t read the novel that the series is based on and I’m glad I didn’t because I liked the way the story unfold episode by episode. I really wanted to know what happens next. I read that the book is kind of a thriller but the series is not. At least I didn’t see it that way. It’s pure drama with very sad background story. Well, it is about suicide after all.

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The story itself is cleverly made, I liked the way that each episode is one of the reasons “why” and tells a story from one point of view. But when the story goes forward, a viewer will get another point of view. Nothing is black and white. Everyone of the characters evolve on the way, almost all of them are more than one dimensional, they’re flesh and blood. These days it seems to be rare that kids or teenagers in TV are very real, they are more like something that none of us “normal” people are, like princesses or princes of Upper East Side (Gossip Girl) or way too beautiful and fashionable like in Pretty Little Liars. But in 13 Reasons teens are normal with normal faces or bodies or clothes. They come from different backgrounds with different problems. They are jocks, outcasts or something between. They’re real. And that’s what I liked this series the best besides the structure of storytelling.

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All actors are top-notch. Some characters could be a little bit more developed but everyone on board makes the best out of it what’s given. There are some tacky dialogue but not that much that it bothers. The story itself is for me a bit strange as I’m very optimist person, so it’s hard for me to relate that deep problems that takes you to kill yourself or even just be depressed. But even though it was hard for me to relate, episodes were so well done that it wasn’t that hard to see “why”.

The biggest problem for me was that I really didn’t like Hannah who is the driving force behind the whole story. She’s really annoying. But at the same time when I just wanted to throw something at her, I admired that the second protagonist of the story is someone that you don’t really like. It made it probably a bit more real. And as I wrote these kids are what I see as normal, so basically all of them are a bit sh*t like teenagers around the world tend to be.

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As I don’t want to spoil anything as it’s important to view episode by episode to see the big picture, I wonder how they will continue in the second season. It has to be the another story basically. But I’ll be watching. These kids are worth of your time.

Starring: **** (out of 5)

TV of the Week Vol. 4

Vol 4! Really?! Well, I assure you I do watch A LOT more TV (or well, streaming services) than that. But this weekend I had a lot of free time, so I caught up with some of my favourite television.

breakingbadBREAKING BAD (2008-2013)

Created by Vince Gilligan

Starring Bryan Cranston & Aaron Paul

Synopsis (IMDb): “A high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer turns to manufacturing and selling methamphetamine in order to secure his family’s future.”

Yes. I know. I’m still watching this. Shocker. I have no idea why I haven’t seen this before. It’s been something like two years or more when I started to watch this but it was a thing that I did with my then-roommate and after we moved apart, I let it be for quite a while. But the last week I finally continued watching this. The problem is that it really affects me oddly deeply and I can watch something like four episodes and then I need to watch something really fluffy and comforting. It’s really weird because I can’t remember any series going so badly under my skin. I don’t know why this one does. Oh no, not true, Hannibal was even worse, I couldn’t watch it at all after few episodes.

Obviously most of you, who read my blog, have seen the series and I also started the fourth season couple of days ago but again I find it difficult to go back to it. But when I do, I enjoy the writing and acting immensely. Especially the writing, it’s so amazing, the pacing is unbelievable. There are people who probably don’t like how it’s told, at points so slowly, that it’s hardly moving and then it hits you hard on the face when it moves so quickly that it almost hurts. But I actually think that is why Breaking Bad was and is so popular. It also e3e520e96df88334d79b5cbed18fbd58helps a lot that all of the players are amazing. Especially Bryan Cranston. But then again, isn’t he always. He is one my favourite actors of all time. And it makes it easier to relate when these people are a lot like us with their problems and especially how they look. Aaron Paul is cute as a bunny but he could be any bad, but so hot, boy from your high school.  Great series and even though I know the ending it is still a pleasure to watch this even though it’s taking its toll on me.

Rating: ****½ (out of 5) (I might give it full five after finishing it.)

DOWNTON ABBEY (2010-2015)

Created by Julian Fellowes

Starring Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael, Hugh Bonneville, Jim Carter, Brendan Coyle, Joanne Froggatt, Rob James-Collier, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern, Sophie McShera, Leslie Nicol, Penelope Wilton & Maggie Smith

Synopsis: “A chronicle of the lives of the British aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the early 20th Century.”

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I would have never, ever thought that Downton Abbey would be one of those series that I end up loving. Before starting to watch it I assumed it’s a soap. A very lavish and stylish, made with a lot of sterling but still a soap. And yes, maybe it is a bit. No, I can’t say that because that word underestimates Downton Abbey too badly. Although I have to admit that some twists in the plot are straight from soap opera world. But all in all, Downton Abbey is affecting drama with a lot of sugar and spice.

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When I started watching Downton Abbey, I watched four seasons in 10 days or so. That hasn’t happened for a while that I get caught so badly to any series. And what was the most surprising I absolutely fell in love with the characters. And that is where the richness of Downton Abbey lies. Its characters. They’re the heart of the whole thing. Yes, the series downton-abbey-ladieslooks amazing, the music is beautiful, English language is always amazing to listen when spoken so elegantly as here (some might call it snobbishly but I love it!) and as a big England fan, I love the scenery. But without rich and full-bodied characters, Downton would be nothing. It’s been a while since I’ve cared fictional characters this much. Even the ones that I don’t like that much. But Fellowes and co. have managed to make every character a human, a breathing, living, mistake-making human. And you accept them as those, love them despite their flaws.

I’ve been shocked to my core by Downton Abbey, I’ve cried so much, felt despair and love with the characters and lived every moment with them and it felt so good! I’m sad that it’s downtonabbey_mrsvioletlanghamnow over. But I’m glad they wrapped it up before it got sour. Btw, it’s surprisingly funny and big thanks for that goes to Maggie Smith. There is a reason why she’s been honoured because of the role again and again. She’s amazing.

Rating: ***** (out of 5)

SCREAM season 2 (2016)

Created by Jay Beattie, Jill E. Blotevogel  & Dan Dworkin

Starring Willa Fitzgerald, Bex Taylor-Klaus, John Karna, Carlson Young & Amadeus Serafini

Synopsis: “What starts as a YouTube video going viral soon leads to problems for the teenagers of Lakewood and serves as the catalyst for a murder that opens up a window to the town’s troubled past.”

I already reviewed the first season within the films, you can read it here. The second season continues the story in a same way, no big changes here. Murders are still bloody slashers, characters are still young high schoolers and plot repeats itself. No big revelations here. It’s entertaining and quite hooking but that’s it. I did like the first season more.

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The biggest annoyance here is the leading lady, Emma, played by Willa Fitzgerald. Her character is just really, really annoying. She just can’t see outside of her own life. And she’s such an angel. Ugh. I do not like her. So it makes that much harder to watch this. I heard they’re going to do two episodes special or something for Halloween and I kind of hope they will wrapped it up with it. There just isn’t enough steam to continue. But that is just my opinion. Or if they will continue, I hope they make some nice changes like kill the main character in the beginning of the third season. At this point, if feels like writers are playing it safe. But I do admit that the beginning of the season worked and so did the end of the season but as it is 12 episodes long, they could cut at least half of them and viewer would not lose any excitement. There’s basically no character development and the story itself is starting to be boring. Despite my negative thoughts, I did watch it in two nights. And was that scared that I needed to watch some Friends before going to bed.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

P.S. Nice pastiches of classic horror films including the titles of episodes.

Brooke Episode 204

Summer’s Gone

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Wow! I didn’t even realise how amazingly lazy I’ve been again. With posts in general but especially with my updates. So, let’s take a look where I am at the moment, in life and movie world.

Did you, guys, realised that my 101 (which is 55 these days) has its deadline already in March?! I sure didn’t! Well, I’m certain that I won’t be able to travel to all those destinations mentioned on it. Pity. But at least I will be travelling somewhere (come January and I’ll be heading to Florida and The Bahamas!!! Yay!). Anyway, let’s take a look if if I’ve managed to do anything… Heh, yeah, I went on a date (#8), a very, very nice date. In May already. Pity it didn’t work because I liked the guy a lot. He was clever enough to suggest that we will go to see a film in local art house cinema and even was willing to see Son of Saul, not exactly the first date material. The other thing I did was taking a selfie every month for a year (#16):

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There are pics from June 2augustselfie16015 to March, April and May are somewhere in social media and  I’ll let them be as they’re not that good. But here’s me now, taken this Tuesday. I cut my hair after couple of years keepin’ it long.

Ok, enough of that. What else I’ve managed to do from my list… I did saw the northern lights when I was working in northern Lapland from February until April. I will go back there on 5th of September and this time I’m planning on staying there until the next spring. I also visited there the last week. Here are some pics from northern Norway where I visited for the first time ever:

Btw, if you’re interested in checking out more of my pics, follow me on Instagram, the name fairytalepictures. I also use Snapchat, feel free to add me, it’s satufp (my first name and letters from the blog). I’d love to follow you guys too if you use any of those.

So, three things in, what… a year?! Wow, talking about laziness… What about life goals aka the bucket list? Have I done anything? I kinda doubt it. And yep, I was right, I haven’t done anything. I better start, life’s short, huh?

In February I said I will go and post a list of films I watch every month. Did that happen? No. the-hundred-year-old-man-who-climbed-out-of-the-window-and-disappearedSo, let’s take a look now what has happened my 50/50 list. I can’t even remember when I watched those films. Thankfully (read: sadly) there aren’t that many. I’ve only read two books this year (it’s kind of hard to believe, I really though I’ve read more) but as I’m going to Lapland in a week, I know that I will have time to read more, so it’s still possible to get my 12 books before the end of the year. Right now I’m reading this novel called The Hundred-Year-Old Who Climbed Out of the Window And Disappeared and I recommend it gladly! It’s so funny, interesting, heartfelt and just absurd. I love it! They also made a film of it, it might be worth to check out too.

And to films! I’ve seen 66 films this year, so far. 16 of them I saw in cinemas despite the fact that during two months I didn’t really have proper access to them. Well, there is one in the nearby village (30 km away) but the screenings are like four times a week, so it’s good luck if you’re not working then. The best one of the new films to me I’ve seen this year is still Spotlight, the runner-ups being Captain America: Civil War, The Big Short, Pan’s Labyrinth, In Your Eyes and of course Deadpool that delivered even though I had huge expectations! And when it comes to my IMDb-challenge, I’ve watched four from the list. And I’m planning on watching two more today! I already watched No Country for Old Men. On TV side I’ve been hooked to Bones the most of the year and as I’ve been quite tired this summer (I’ve been working at festivals, so it means travelling around all the time), I’ve mainly watched Gilmore Girls as I find it comforting. I did finish watching Outlander, though. It was recommended to me back then when I started my TV challenge.

There you go. This year has kinda gone past without me really noticing it. The summer went and I mainly worked. I only slowed down during the last few weeks and visited a friend in Kalajoki. While in home, I’ve been in Tampere, my favourite place in Finland (pics above, first Kalajoki, 2nd Tampere). I’m still in the middle of my uni, I still need to do the practical training and thesis. As I wrote in the end of the year, I wanted to stay in Amsterdam but couldn’t in the end, so I decided to go to Lapland to make some money after coming back to Finland in the end of January I did apply here and there during the last spring but didn’t get a place that I really wanted, so graduation post-boned but it’s OK. Now I’m off to Saariselkä. Winter is coming.

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Stranger Things Review

I’ve been away for over three months and that I apologize. I’ll get back to that but now the stranger_things_posterreview for my new favourite TV show. Again, like usually, spoiler-free.

STRANGER THINGS (2016)

Created by The Duffer Brothers

Starring Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer & Charlie Heaton

Synopsis: “When a young boy disappears, his mother, a police chief, and his friends must confront terrifying forces in order to get him back.” (IMDb)

Few days ago I read a review of Suicide Squad where the writer complained about that there’s no more heart in filmmaking when everyone is just following same script and making same kind of superhero movies that have worked during the few last years. And I know what that person means. It’s all been about making money lately. Who gets the biggest opening, who hires the biggest starts, who has the biggest audience and especially who makes the most money. I’ve liked quite a few of those films but then again, I’ve kind of forgotten them almost immediately. On TV side there’s been amazingly great television lately but for some reason it’s glorious and looks amazing but it’s cold, dark, brutal, sad, violent and makes you feel dirty. To be honest, Stranger Things is also dark, actually very dark, especially literally and it is sad and a bit violent and people are dirty in it. It’s also cold in it. And brutal too, I guess. But what matters the most, it has huge, beating heart in the middle of it.

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When watching Stranger Things you can feel the love. Love towards filmmaking, 80’s, Spielberg, King, fairytales, good, old-fashioned good vs. evil. All those things that made you (or at least me) to fall in love with movies. That “larger than life” thing, you know? Besides that you can feel it, it is there to see in all those big and little details. You can easily see it in those photos of the set, how they look, how the setting is and obviously story owes so much to all those stories before it but yet again, it’s original and somehow weirdly fresh. And with a lot of twists.

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It’s always risky placing a kid in the centre of your film as child actor can easily ruin your story. It’s even riskier to put a bunch of them there but in Stranger Things all kids can carry their parts and even more. I loved every character, especially the lads in the center of it all and even more specifically Finn Wolfhard as Mike as he brought such maturity to the role that kind of variety might be hard to reach even for an adult. And none of these kids have THAT long careers behind them yet. And same goes for guys who created the show, Matt and Ross Duffer aka The Duffer Brothers. As directors both of them (they’re twins) have four (!) credits in IMDb. Not much. So kudos to them; well done! I wonder if they’re both married. :p

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The Duffer Brothers

Back to Stranger Things. Besides the great cast (only Winona Ryder was a bit too much for me from time to time), set decoration, all production design is basically flawless (surely some have already found flaws); it feels like you’ve watching some strange and much, much scarier E.T. And on that mark, do remember to give this excellent series its whole credit and watch it in dark after the sun has set. And how fun it is to spot all those popular culture references? At least to me it never gets old.

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What else? Nothing really, just watch it. I don’t know anybody who hasn’t liked it. To me it was total 5/5. The best new series since Sherlock (I watched that later than GoT). I don’t know how Netflix manages to do this, finding such talents, but I do hope they will continue doing it.

Rating: ***** (out of same amount)

 

Fairytale Year in Review

Now, when the year is almost over and I will be partying mostly what’s left of it and actually hang out with my real life friends, it’s time to take a look at my year in the blog-verse.

Image: FILE PHOTO: 70 Years Since The Casablanca World Premiere CasablancaI had much less traffic this year than I did in 2014 but then again, I posted much less and I was very inconsistent, e.g. I didn’t write a word for five months… As my new year’s resolution, I promise I’ll try to do better. Apart from Homepage, other favourite posts have been my Analysis of Casablanca (made for school originally), “If You Can Dream It You Can Do It” and many of those Best of the Best lists (which I will be writing one more time this year when listing the best films of the year on the last day of the year). And apparently yesterday’s post of Jared Leto has been a huge success. 😀 My top-3 countries of visitors are US, Germany and for some weird reason, France. “Cary Fukunaga” has been, by far, the most popular search word(s) that will link people to my blog. No complaints there, he deserves all the attention coming to his way. Sunday seems to be the day I should post and the late hour of 11pm is the target time (no surprise there if my readers are from the States). Again, my dear readers, let me know if there are some special posts that you like more than others and I’ll try to do my best and write more about them. 🙂

Then… Let’s take a look how I did with all my self-challenges. Badly being the key word here.

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50/50 ended up being 8/113 + 4 that I watched double or more times PLUS those that I will watch during these few days. I think that the next year I’ll go for 10/150 or something like it. Something I can actually reach. I definitely should read more though. The best book I read this year was the familiar one; Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. No surprises there. Films I will go through later. But apparently X-Men: Days of Future Past and Star Wars: The Force Awakens are high on my list of movies all in all as I watched them twice this year. And Jurassic World, or perhaps Chris Pratt’s nipples (yay for Chris’ take on objectifying men; it is their time), seems to be THE film for me since I’ve seen it three (!) times since July. Chris Pratt in general was THE crush for me this year.

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I did watch two films from my IMDb-250 list. Two. Wohoo. What’s wrong with me, those films are great! I watched The Graduate, not my cup of tea and to me definitely too hyped. Hated the way it looks. Ugh. The other one I just watched yesterday; The General by Buster Keaton (1926). He was a funny man! I enjoyed the film. Obviously it’s old but the story works and so does Keaton. But he’s no Chaplin, I have to say. I will continue tackle the list next year as well (and probably the next one after that too…). I also set up a TV Challenge in September. I haven’t watched too many from that list but I did finish watching the first season of Orphan Black and will definitely continue. I started The Affair and while it’s not bad it hasn’t gotten me hooked either. I didn’t watch five episodes so I need to give it another chance still. And I need to finish Outlander season 1, still four more episodes to go.

sail1On personal side I have two lists; former 101 Things in 1001 Days that I changed to 55 Things in 555 Days; take a look! I only managed to do one so far but that’s kind of huge one as it is living abroad. As I told in the beginning of autumn, I moved to Amsterdam to do my exchange. I’m still there (though right now I’m visiting Finland for Christmas) and I’m planning on staying. I don’t have a proper job, I will loose my student housing in a month and I really need to find an internship to finalize my studies. So, wish me luck! And  if anyone knows any nice marketing/branding/event management internships in Europe (or elsewhere if I can get a permit) preferably in entertainment/sports business, let me know! Oh, I did start to take selfies every month, here’s an example:

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I also have my Bucket List here for everyone to see. I haven’t achieved any of those goals, I think I need to start now.

In general note, the end of the year has been great. I loved my studies in Amsterdam, I got to know a bunch of great people that I really, really want to keep in my life in the future too. I’ve been pondering a lot if I’ve deserved all this happiness that I’m feeling now but then again, the spring and the last year were heavy ones, so, I guess, I have deserved some easy times for a change.

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New Year’s resolutions? I promise to graduate. I promise to make changes to make me healthier. I promise to be easy on me. I promise to stay in touch with people that matter and I promise to try to remember not to hold on to things that are not worth it and just let them go. Any resolutions there?

I’m not wishing you Happy New Year yet as I hope you’ll come back in few days to see which films I liked the best this year. 😉

After Venice and Telluride – The Second look on The Oscars 2016

The 85th Academy Awards® will air live on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, 2013.

My promised second update on upcoming Oscar films.

TIFF aka Toronto International Film Festival has begun couple of days ago and already showed new Michael Moore documentary Where to Invade Next as well as new Ridley Scott film, The Martian. I will go through how those films and other new ones from TIFF were received in my next post. This post however is still dedicated to films from Venice and Telluride Film Festivals. See the first part here.

Cary Fukunaga. I have no idea if he is gay or straight, married or in a relationship but if he’s willing, I could marry him. He already directed amazing first season of True Detective but now he has finished his passion project Beasts of No Nation. He did not only direct it, he also has written the screenplay and shot it. And as you might know I’m a big fan of cinematographers (my list of top-10). And apparently Beasts of No Nation is a winner! I watched the trailer (synopsis from IMDb: “A drama based on the experiences of Agu, a child soldier fighting in the civil war of an unnamed African country.”) and it already made me feel bad, so I guess the film itself will be very hard to watch but nonetheless I will watch it as soon as it gets its premiere on Netflix on October 16th world-wide. Idris Elba apparently does career best work in the film as well as total newcomer, Abraham Attah from Ghana, where they shot the film, is supposedly very good in the lead role. I believe the cinematography works as well because previous films of Fukunaga have looked so good. Rotten Tomatoes says 100% fresh right now. Oh, and when it comes to Fukunaga, he’s also hot! Or what do you think?

Hot pic of Cary Fukunaga

Brie Larson is one of my favourite actresses working today and she is only 25 years old. I fell in love with her within 21 Jump Street but after that she has just gone better with Short Term 12, Trainwreck and The Spectacular Now. And now with Room (synopsis from IMDb: “A modern-day story about the boundless love between mother and child; young Jack knows nothing of the world except for the single room in which he was born and raised.”) she might be looking for her first Oscar nomination. I haven’t even seen the film yet but I’m ready to campaign for her. Besides her, critics are saying that a newcomer Jacob Tremblay in other lead role is a find. The screenplay is adapted by the writer of the original book, Emma Donoghue, so it should have a chance for a nomination as well. It all depends how the film will be received by audience. Rotten Tomatoes says 100%.

I had high hopes for Everest but according to mixed reviews after Venice it looks like it’s not the best but I have a gut feeling that wider audiences will like it. Everest is a film about surviving on Everest, based of true events, I think. Starring character actors as well as heavy hitters like Keira Knightley, Jason Clarke, John Hawkes, Emily Watson, Josh Brolin, Sam Worthington and, my all-time future-husband, Jake Gyllenhaal. It will probably still score with technical categories like effects and sounds as well as possibly in cinematography. We’ll see. In theaters on September in most of the countries. Rotten Tomatoes: 76% (that’s not really bad…).

And the last but for sure not the least: Spotlight. IMDb says: “The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core.” Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Michael Keaton, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Billy Crudup and Stanley Tucci. Yeah, sounds like an Oscar film, doesn’t it? And it should get a nomination at least to Keaton, perhaps even a win. We don’t know yet. There are changes for Ruffalo and McAdams too. Critics are comparing it to All the President’s Men that went winning four Oscars back in 1977 after gaining eight nominations. There is no reason why Spotlight couldn’t do the same. RT: 94%.

And again, my updated predictions HERE!

TV Challenge

Tv challenge Samara in The Ring

This should probably be labeled as “series challenge” because I’m hardly going to watch any of these from TV… Anyhow. Last Christmas I asked recommendations from my Facebook friends for TV series. I wrote then that I will watch five episodes from first 10 recommendations. To me five is amount of episodes that either entice you or you just don’t care. It’s a fair deal, if makers can’t convince you in that time, it’s their loss.

I have now watched maybe one series, so I think I’ll challenge myself now to actually do it. Here is the list:House of Cards Francis Underwood

1. Masters of Sex
2. Silicon Valley
3. Newsroom
4. Archer
5. The Affair
6. House of Cards
7. Breaking Bad
8. Orphan Black
9. Orange Is the New Black
10. HomelandStephen Amell hot in Arrow
11. Sons of Anarchy
12. Fringe
13. Under the Dome
14. Marco Polo
15. Arrow
16. Vikings
17. Looking
18. The Wire
19. Louie
20. Skins
21. Gotham

EDIT. The ones that were suggested afterwards:

22. Outlander
23. Daredevil
24. Scandal
25. The Wire
26. Agent Carter
27. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Ok. That was four that I’ve watched. But not finished though, so I want to finish them. And review in future posts of TV challenge. I would also like to get recommendations from you, what series I should definitely take a look on? I can add them to my neverending list. 🙂