Throwback Thursday: Traffic Light

Traffic Light ran from February 2001 to May 2011, and was adapted from an Israeli TV show called Ramzor. The show revolves around 3 best friends from college (Mike, Adam, and Ethan) who are currently in their 30s. Each best friend is at a different stage in their life: Ethan is single with a dog, Adam just moved in with his girlfriend, and Mike is married with one child. Each episode shows the best friends trying to figure out the demands of their relationships, as well as finding the perfect balance between home, work, and friendship.

The show separates itself from all the other RomCom shows out there by allowing the women to actually be people. Their story lines were just as important as the mens, they didn’t revolve around being annoyed that their significant other wouldn’t do anything they asked them to do, and they were allowed to be funny. Not funny in the “I am such a nag and I constantly do everything around the house” way, but funny in the actual sense of the word funny. They had witty one liners and they freaked out more then the men about commitment. They were genuine characters in the show. It is this level of writing and representation that needs to be seen more in Hollywood.

The show has a very similar set up to Rules of Engagement, so that is most likely why the show only has 13 episodes. Others believe that it was due to the very confusing title. No matter the reason, it is still an unfortunate loss that this show never got a Season 2.

Where to watch: Netflix, Amazon (Watch the trailer)

Where to find the fandom: Sadly there is no fandom

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Throwback Thursday: Eureka

Eureka is a science fiction show that aired on the SyFy channel from 2006 to 2012 for 5 seasons and 77 episodes. The show begins with US Marshal Jack Carter escorting a fugitive prisoner (his daughter Zoe) back home to LA to live with her mother. They decide to make a pit stop in the town of Eureka, and little does Jack know that the entire town is made up of geniuses who work for Global Dynamics, an advanced research facility that develops all of the countries new technology.

During the pit stop, the town’s sheriff is incapacitated by an experiment gone wrong, and the town chooses Jack to fill in temporarily. Jack is not a genius, but thanks to his down to earth logic and insights, he is able to view the towns problems from a different angle and offer insight into how to handle them. Jack and Zoe soon choose to stay in Eureka, despite all of the crazy schemes the natives cook up.

If you are wanting to get somebody into science-fiction television, this show is a great start. It is campy, fun, tech-savvy, but still accessible to those with no science background due to Jack always needing an explanation. The only downside is that it is the ultimate troll.

Every time something good happens between OTP’s, they pull the ultimate troll and change the course of history. There are so many times where history gets changed because something goes wrong with the space time continuum and the amazingness that just happened between our OTP has no longer happened. Marriages, children, kisses, everything that an OTP shipper wants and needs is given and taken away in mere minutes. And yet the show has witty writing that keeps you drawn in and wanting to see it through the end. The end has one of the best pilot call backs I have ever seen, so it is well worth the trolling.

Where to watch: Netflix (season 5 only) and Amazon (Watch the trailer)

Where to find the fandom: Fanfiction, A03, and Livejournal

Throwback Thursday: Greek

Greek aired on ABC Family from 2007 to 2011 for 4 seasons and 74 episodes. It follows students attending Cyprus-Rhodes University (CRU) who participate in the Greek system. The main characters are Rusty and Casey Cartwright, siblings who are on very different life paths.

Casey is the campus darling, dating Evan (the president of Omega Chi Delta), and well on her way to being president of her own sorority, Zeta Beta Zeta. Rusty (aka Spitter), on the other hand, is new to campus and just wants to fit in. Him fitting in would be a lot easier if Casey had actually told people she had a little brother, or if he wasn’t in the Honors Engineering Program, or if he hadn’t caught Casey’s boyfriend sleeping with Casey’s new ‘little sister’, or if he hadn’t defected Omega Chi Delta for Kappa Tau Gamma (run by Casey’s ex-boyfriend and Evan’s ex-best friend/former roommate, Cappie). Pretty much, Rusty has a lot stacked up against him, and it’s only his first week of school.

The show explores all of the different dynamics that come with college: keeping up with the coursework, navigating the Greek system politics, weird roommates, relationships (including love triangles), sexuality, and life after graduation.

Judd Apatow has talked about how difficult it is to produce a show that accurately portrays a period in someones life that isn’t generally seen as ‘safe’ for broadcast television. Somehow, Greek was able to be watched by almost any member in the family, while still showing drinking, drugs, and sex accurately. It also has positive depictions of gay characters. No gimmicky stereotypes here folks, nor one dimensional relationships. LGBT+ characters had fully developed relationships, and were given just as much thought and care as the straight relationships.

The show also used real life band The Plain White T’s as the Greek systems go-to house party band. Every party utilizes the band on screen, featuring their songs throughout the episodes and during commercials/promo spots, as well as using the cast in music videos. Fans cannot listen to the album Every Second Counts without having flashbacks and intense cravings to re-watch the show.

There is rumor that a reunion movie is in the works, catching up with the characters for their 5 year college reunion.

Where to watch: Freeform website (Watch the trailer)

Where to find the fandom: Most (almost all) of the fandom defected soon after the last episode aired, but luckily the internet is forever – FanfictionLivejournalA03, Tumblr: fuckyeahzbzcappie-tau-gammafuckyeahgreek

 

Throwback Thursday: Kitchen Confidential

Kitchen Confidential only aired 4 episodes between September 19, 2005 and December 5, 2005 (all 13 episodes were later released on DVD). After the first 3 episodes were shown, Fox network put the show on hiatus due to the Major League Baseball playoffs, then postponed, and was then cancelled 4 days after the fourth episode aired. It is based on Anthony bourdain’s bestselling book by the same name.

Bradley Cooper plays the lead character, Jack Bourdain, who is a successful chief who lost prestige due to alcohol and drug addiction. He is given the chance to run Nolita as a career comeback. He is helped out in the kitchen by one of his oldest friends (Nicholas Brendon), his best friend/thief (Owain Yeoman), a newbie (John Francis Daley), a ditzy waitress (Jaime King), and a head waitress/daughter of the owner who hates the entire staff (Bonnie Somerville).

As you can see, the show has a phenomenal cast. At its core, the show focuses on the hijinks done by the main kitchen staff, and trying to keep the bosses daughter from finding out. The writing is witty, and plays on the actors/actresses best strengths. It is a show that if promoted correctly (it was paired with Arrested Development on Monday nights), could have run for a few seasons rather then only 4 episodes.

Where to watch: Hulu, and Amazon sells the complete series for only $10 (Watch a clip)

Where to find the fandom: Sadly, there is pretty much no fandom for this show. You can find a few stories on Fanfiction and AO3, and you have to dig through the tag on tumblr to find show related posts (most are for the book)

 

Throwback Thursday: Leverage

Ever wondered what a mashup of Ocean’s Eleven and Robin Hood would be like? Have no fear, Leverage is the show for you.

Leverage aired from 2008 to 2012 for a total of 5 seasons and 77 episodes. The show follows a grifter, a hacker, a hitter, a thief, and an ex-insurance investigator who use their combined skills to fight corporate America in order to help ordinary citizens.

Let’s meet the team:

Nathan “Nate” Ford (The Mastermind/The Brains): Former insurance fraud investigator who loses his job and wife after his son dies due to the insurance company (the same one he works for) refusing to cover medical treatment. This leads him into using alcohol as a coping mechanism, and he refers to himself as a functioning alcohol throughout the whole series (the rest of the team just calls him an alcoholic). He has personally tracked down each of the team members in one way or another while working for the insurance company, and it is this knowledge that leads him to know how to use their skills in each con.

Sophie Devereaux (The Grifter): An accomplished con artist with a talent for art theft and a dream of becoming an actress. The only downside is that she is only a good actress when she is running a con; put her on stage during a play and she is a hot mess. Sophie has a long list of aliases, including Sophie Devereaux. One unanswered question from the series is her real name.

Alec Hardison (The Hacker): A self-proclaimed geek (“age of the geek, baby”), whose first large scale crime was making the country of Iceland responsible for his Nana’s medical bills. He runs all of the electronics for the team, and designed the computer/video systems used at headquarters as well as the com system used during cons. He is also in charge of making legitimate aliases for the team, often using science fiction characters for the names (Dr. Who in particular). Hardison is one of the best actors on the team, and can talk himself out of almost every situation.

Eliot Spencer (The Hitter): An Oklahoma native who is highly skilled at martial arts, a weapons specialist, and a former black ops soldier who hates when guns are brought into a fight. His main responsibility is playing supporting roles in the con while acting as a bodyguard for the team.  He is presumed by most as a muscleman, but in reality he has a subtle intelligence (such as being able to distinguish gun shots, shoes, hairstyles, or styles of fighting) that relies on others underestimating him. In later episodes he works alongside Sophie as a grifter.

Parker (The Thief): A cat-burglar, pickpocket, safe-cracker, and expert thief who comes from an abusive background in foster care. She is “20 pounds of crazy in a five pound bag”, has no understanding of social norms, and lives solely off of cereal. Parker loves money, not stuff, and her favorite present is non-sequential bills. She once stole the Hope diamond and put it back because she was bored. While most see her as naive and childlike, she is next to Nate on being able to see several steps ahead and make contingency plans.

Each episode follows the same setup: the team meets the victim, runs surveillance on the villain, and then an elaborate con is run. The show uses flashbacks to show how seemingly devastating complications were actually anticipated, or how a random scene was a clue to how the entire plan worked. One thing that separates Leverage from other shows is that the characters are at the top of their field and the story lines and complications reflect it. The crew doesn’t hit a snag because somebody dropped the ball, they hit a snag because somebody sold the con too well.

While the show focuses on taking down corporate America (let’s be honest, who doesn’t love that?), it is the team’s personality, character growth, and relationship with each other that draws viewers in. Even during the first episode you can tell that they are already forming a family.

As the characters are a family, so too is the fandom. This fandom has steadily grown after cancellation thanks to Netflix and Hulu, and is welcoming of all ships. Whether you ship Hardison/Parker, or Hardison/Parker/Eliot, the fandom has a place for you and no ship wars occur. It is one of the friendliest fandoms out there.

Where to watch: Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and Ion Television airs marathons every Sunday (Watch the trailer)

Where to find the fandom: Fanfiction, AO3, Tumblr: Leverage Tag, letsgostealaleverageblog, other-romantic-verbs

Throwback Thursday: Psych

Psych. Where to begin with Psych. This show is fandom heaven. The gags, the actor’s involvement, the contests, the Fan Appreciation days, the running jokes, the guest stars, the homage episodes, the musical. This is the kind of fandom that every fan dreams of having one day. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Psych aired 8 seasons and 121 episodes from 2006 to 2014.  The show focuses on Shawn Spencer, fake psychic detective,  and Burton “Gus” Guster, best friend and unwilling (sometimes willing) pawn in Shawn’s antics. Shawn’s father, Henry, was a police officer who raised Shawn to be hyper vigilant with keen observation and deductive skills. Think Sherlock Holmes with a major case of ADHD and a diet of pixie sticks and soda.

Shawn hit a rebellious streak in his teenage years that probably is still going on, and has had 57 jobs since graduation instead of the police force work his father set out for him. As an adult, Shawn takes to calling in tips to the Crime Hotline after watching the News and spotting tells/clues. He ends up being called in to the station where he is accused of being an accessory to the crimes, even though he tells them the truth. As a last resort to avoid being arrested, he lies and says he is psychic by using some of the clues he picked up while observing the station. The interim police chief asks him for help on a kidnapping and tells him that if it ever comes out that he is lying, he will be prosecuted.

With no choice but to keep up the pretense, Shawn enlists his childhood best friend to be his partner as consultants to the police, even though Gus already has a job as a Pharmaceutical Representative. Shawn uses the psychic pretense to live out every childhood dream he has ever had (except for riding a dolphin. That one sadly never comes to fruition), much to the chagrin of Head Detective Carlton “Lassie” Lassiter and bemusement of Junior Detective Juliet “Jules” O’Hara.

Now that we’ve covered the plot of the show, let’s talk how this show managed to create one of the best fandoms in tv history.

The gags/running jokes: The cast had such a bond that you immediately knew that they genuinely were a family on set. You only have to watch one episode to see this. This level of camaraderie and friendship lead to them constantly goofing off on set. Just watch this 2 and a half hour video of all the psych outs and bloopers. Psych outs are what the network called the bloopers that were shown at the end of every episode beginning season 2 or 3. The cast ended up having running gags that were soon written into the show. One of the most famous of these  was between James Roday and Dule Hill (Shawn and Gus respectively), and is only two words: Suck It. Fans to this day still say Suck It as a reply to pretty much everything. We also have the running gags of Gus’s fake names, “Gus don’t be a …”, “I’ve heard it both ways”, and “have you heard about Pluto?”. Of course we can’t forget the most important one. The pineapple.

The pineapple: While the pineapple is a running joke/gag, it deserves it’s own paragraph. It started out in the first episode as an ad-lib of Shawn asking Gus if they could split a pineapple in the car. The ad-lib was left in, and the cast and fans loved it. Almost every single episode has a pineapple in it, be it an actual pineapple, pineapple upside down cake, pineapple statues, or just an image on a water bottle label. It even became a fandom game called “spot the pineapple” and was used as a contest on the networks site to win prizes and props. It is such an icon that almost every piece of merchandise has a pineapple on it. *If you want to know where every pineapple is, check out this website.

The cast/network involvement: This show was one of the first shows to have the cast live tweet episodes and interact with fans online during the broadcast. They had myspace pages for every main character, and used fans as the top 8 friends. During hiatuses, countdown calendars were posted by the network and each day would reveal a clip, a trailer, character resumes, behind the scenes pictures, etc. The network ran contests to find the biggest fans and would give them shout outs during the show. Leading up to season 6, they even had a Psych Fan Appreciation day. It was a comic con just for Psych and included watching the premiere, a Q&A, on stage competitions between the fans, and the cast singing random songs (they do this all the time. It’s pretty much 25% of the bloopers and the inspiration for the musical episode).

The guest stars: This show has the best guest stars of all time. To  name a few: Molly Ringwald, Cary Elwes, Jane Lynch, Tim Curry, Ally Sheedy, John Cena, Kerry Washington, Kenan Thompson, Judd Nelson, Freddie Prince Jr., Mena Suvari, Wayne Brady, Anthony Michael Hall, Christopher Lloyd, George Takei, and William Shatner. A fuller list can be found here.

The homage episodes: You just have to google homage episodes and the first few results are Psych related. This show set the standards on how to do an homage episode correctly. Some of the homages we had: John Hughes, Twin PeaksClueIndiana Jones,  Nightmare on Elm StreetOne Flew Over the Cuckoo’s NestSliding Doors, The Shining, Friday the 13th, The Hangover, American Idol, Hitchcockand Psych itself (during season 8 they remade a season 1 episode).

The fans themselves: All of the above lead to the fans being loyal because the cast and crew went above and beyond. We once had a 10 month hiatus and the show did not lose viewers. Instead, we became even more loyal and used the time to bring in new fans. This fandom loved one another, and I cannot remember any fandom drama. The only thing that even stands out is when Shawn and Jules got a serious girlfriend/boyfriend that were not each other. The fandom was torn over liking them or hating them. What set this fandom apart from others is that at the end of the day everybody agreed that Shules (Shawn and Jules) was endgame and that a girlfriend or boyfriend billed as a guest star was not going to last forever. The fans never got into wars, and all you had to do was say you watched/liked Psych  and you were welcomed with open arms and hugs for the long hiatuses.

Where to watch: Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu (Watch the Trailer)

Where to find the fandom: While a large portion of the fandom petered out a year or two after the final episode, new fans still have access to all the fandom goodness.  FanfictionPsychficLivejournalAO3USANetwork, Tumblr: Psych TagPsychUSA TagPsychfanaticsthelittleboycatpysch

 

What Buffy Taught Me

What Buffy Taught Me

My bedroom at university is pretty well decorated with a Jurassic World poster on the wall, fairy lights, and pictures of my friends and I surrounding my desk. However, my favourite decoration in my room is the one my Dad helped me make before I moved away: a gold lettered sign on my wall, right next to my bed, that says “What Would Buffy Do?”

This is the mantra I live by. I grew up watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer (BTVS)- it began on television when I was a few months old and my parents eventually acquired the box sets for me to start watching when I was about seven or eight years old. I was never allowed to watch past season 3 due to ‘adult themes’ (read: Buffy and Riley sex scenes) until I was about twelve or thirteen. I’ve now watched the series a few hundred times and, at the ripe old age of nineteen, I can safely say that BTVS has taught me some valuable life lessons.

#1: It’s okay not to be okay

Buffy has to be one of the strongest characters I have ever seen on television, and yet sometimes she can’t be strong. We see Buffy break down several times on the show, whether it be because she has to kill Angel or because her mother dies. Each of these times humanize Buffy and remind me that it is okay to not be okay, and sometimes you will get sad and overwhelmed, but that’s fine because you don’t have to be strong all the time. Not to mention Buffy crying always ends up with me crying too!

#2: Don’t be a sheep

One of my favourite characters in the BTVS series has got to be Cordelia. She’s sassy, hilarious, and the ‘bully turned friend’. One of the best things Cordelia has taught me is to not be a sheep. Cordy is unafraid to be herself, and she is a very loud and proud, outgoing personality. However, the turning point for her was at the end of the season 2 episode, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, when she stands up to Harmony and her band of ‘sheep’. Cordelia tells Harmony that she is a sheep, and Cordy will wear what she wants to wear and date who she wants to date, even if that guy is Xander.

#3: Everything is better with a little help from friends

Buffy often suffers from what I like to call the ‘hero complex’, i.e. she feels as if she has to do everything alone and by herself so that she doesn’t endanger any of her friends or family. However, the majority of the time she has the most success when she allows her friends to help her in any way they can. This is an advantage of them knowing that she is the Slayer. They often help research what Buffy is up against, find clues, concoct and carry out plans, and be there when it is all done and dusted. My two favourite examples of when they all succeeded together was when they were fighting the Order of Taraka assassins in season 2, each of them tackling one that they had researched. Also, I absolutely loved the season 3 finale, Graduation Day part 2, when they finally all take on the Mayor’s ascension. It is such a kick ass episode, mostly because everyone is fighting and working together to take the big snake down.

Hopefully you guys have watched BTVS, or plan to soon, as it has always been, and will always continue to be, my favourite TV show in the world. It’s funny, witty, dark, stressful, action packed, and it teaches a lot of important lessons through the characters and their ordeals.

I look forward to my 101st re watch!