Turning Over (the Remote) Control

Spring appears to have finally taken up residence in this part of the world; the nights can still get a little chilly, but for the most part all the signs of warmer weather have appeared: no jackets, restaurants have opened their patios and outdoor musical festivals are beginning. This is our reward for putting up with the long and cold winters and the warmer weather seems to put people in a better mood, at least while it is still a novelty. Three months from now we’ll be complaining about the heat and the humidity, but this is the sweet spot when we appreciate what we have.

Spring also marks the end of the traditional television season. Though new series will promote over the summer, the bulk of new series are coming to an end. In the next two weeks or so, most of the shows that I regularly watch will be wrapping things up, some for the last time (Adios, The Office. You were terrible your last two seasons).  Some shows will simply be ending their relationship with me, as I imagine I will not be returning when they come back in the fall (prime candidates: The Following, Once Upon a Time, Modern Family).

While there are summer shows that I am excited for – Breaking Bad foremost among them – I have a lot more free time as the days get warmer. I fill that with travel, baseball games, BBQs and concerts, as well as the summer movie season, but I always pick a few TV viewing projects to help fill the void. Without so many regular programs to keep up with, I like to use my down time to catch up on a show that I have fallen woefully behind on or finally get around to a show that I haven’t watched yet but have consistently heard is worth my time. For the latter, that may be a show that is still in production or it may be a show that has ended its run. With Netflix and so many streaming options, it is fairly easy these days to catch up on shows that you’ve missed.

This year, I’ve decided to turn control over to my readers and allow you to vote on what should be my summer viewing project. I’ve put together some options of shows that I haven’t seen but that I often hear come up in conversation. I’m sure I missed some great options, so feel free to suggest other shows for consideration. I tried to mix in some shows that are still running with series that are complete. I have no other restrictions, though I would generally prefer not to watch most reality show competitions. I don’t know how readily available most seasons are and if I already know the outcome, I’m not sure that’s a fair test for any show.

 

 

I currently watch/have watched: 24, 30 Rock, American Horror Story, The Americans, Archer, Arrested Development, Bates Motel, Being Human, Bent, Better Off Ted, The Big Bang Theory, Big Love, Boardwalk Empire, Bob’s Burgers, Breaking Bad, Childrens Hospital, Community, Copper, Cougar Town, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Damages, Deadwood, Dexter, Don’t Trust the B in Apt. 23, Downton Abbey, Eastbound & Down, Family Guy, Firefly, The Following, Freaks and Geeks, Friday Night Lights, Game of Thrones, Gilmore Girls, Girls, Go On, Gossip Girls, Hannibal, Happy Endings, Homeland, Homicide, The Hour, House of Cards, How I Met Your Mother, The Inbetweeners, In Treatment, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Jersey Shore (no I am not proud of this), Justified. The League, Legit, Lost, Louie, Luther, Mad Men, Men of a Certain Age, Modern Family, Nashville, Newsradio, The Office (US and UK), Once Upon a Time, Parenthood, Parks and Recreation, Party Down, Political Animals, Portlandia, Rescue Me, Revenge, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Scrubs, Seinfeld, Sherlock, The Shield, The Simpsons, Six Feet Under, Sons of Anarchy, The Sopranos, Southland, South Park, Terriers, The Newsroom, Top of the Lake, Treme, True Blood, Undeclared, United State of Tara, The Vampire Diaries, Veep, Vikings, The Voice, The Walking Dead, Weeds, The West Wing, Wilfred, The Wire

I have tried and ultimately decided it isn’t for me: The Amazing Race, American Idol, Castle, Celebrity Apprentice, Dallas, Dawson’s Creek, Doctor Who, Entourage, Glee, Grimm, House, Hung, The Killing, The Middle, Project Runway, Pushing Daisies, Revolution, Suburgatory, Survivor, The Mindy Project, Top Chef, Ugly Betty.

So I leave this decision in your capable hands. You can pick a show that you think I’ll really like or you can pick a show you think I’ll hate. Whatever the winner is, I’ll watch the show (or at least a couple seasons) and then write about what I thought about. The adventurous part of me is very excited for this experiment, but the control freak/type A part of my personality finds this process terrifying.
I’ll leave the poll up for a couple weeks to allow people the chance to vote. I am your dancing monkey – just tell me what song to dance to.

 

monkey

Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Almost Vacation Edition

Just when I thought that winter might finally be behind us, Mother Nature decided that we needed one last storm (I hope!) to make things all snowy and white. I am not a fan. The only thing making this bearable is the knowledge that in less than a week I will be in Florida with some of my favorite people and watching baseball. The idea of sitting in the sunshine and not having to wear a winter coat make me positively giddy. Plus it has been five dark and lonely months since I last saw my beloved Yankees, which feels like a lifetime. I’m ready for our reunion. But never fear, dear readers – you won’t be without the blog while I’m away. I’ve got some posts ready to go up in my absence. I’m just that dedicated.

So while I dream of warm weather while I scrape ice and snow off my car, here’s your biweekly round up of some of the pop culture stories that you might have missed.

  • Today would have been Mister Rogers’ 85th birthday

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  • Christopher Meloni has been cast in a new pilot from Bill Lawrence (Scrubs, Cougar Town) based on the book I Suck at Girls.
  • Jimmy Fallon and Selena Gomez performed “Mario Kart Love Song” last night on Late Night:

 

  • I’m not sure that anyone was asking for it, but Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is getting a sequel (my guess is without Jeremy Renner).
  • If you’ve got nothing to do this weekend, MTV will be marathoning old seasons of The Real World. The Real World: Portland will debut on March 27th.
  • Safety Not Guaranteed director has been tapped for Jurassic Park 4. I really enjoyed Safety Not Guaranteed – worth checking out on DVD. A sweet and quirky indie.
  • A Walking Dead/Homeland mash-up:

 

  • This dog does indeed resemble Samuel L. Jackson:

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  • The actor who played Captain Peacock on the British comedy Are You Being Served? has passed away.

 

  • The Funny or Die website is venturing into the world of feature films. Their first product is iSteve, a comedic biopic of Steve Jobs and starring Justin Long (which has got to be better than the not intentionally funny Ashton Kutcher version).
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s production company released a cool short film:

 

  • The blog Thumbs and Ammo has replaced all the guns from TV shows and movies with actors giving a thumbs up. The result is surprisingly positive.

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  • Check out this LEGO paper plane folding machine (it took 600 hours to build):

 

  • I didn’t understand a word of this “March Madness explained with Star Wars” video

 

  • You can watch the first three minutes of the new BBC America show Orphan Black online. The show debuts March 30th.
  • Sigh. I really didn’t need to stumble upon this website of pop culture tribute prints.
  • A Good Times movie is being developed. Not so Dyn-o-mite, though I bet J.J. Walker is available.
  • HBO has released a trailer for the second season of Veep:
  • Vampire Weekend has released two new songs: “Step” and “Diane Young.” Their new album Modern Vampires of the City is out May 7th.
  • Listen to a mix of Justin Timberlake’s “Suit and Tie” and Daft Punk:

 

  • What every home needs – A Breaking Bad terrarium. I’m not kidding – I would put this in my living room.
  • Filming for the third season of the BBC’s Sherlock has begun.  A fourth season is happening as well. More Cumberbatch for everyone!
  • A Shining/Dumb and Dumber mashup:

 

  • Beyoncé has posted a new song on her Tumblr:

 

  • A new red-band trailer for Kick-Ass 2 has been released:

 

  • This is a good dad – a game developer hacked Donkey Kong so his daughter could play the game as a female character that rescues Mario
  • Whoa – Pete Campbell from Mad Men and Rory Gilmore are getting married (well – the actors that play them are, anyway)
  • Watch Usher and the Afghan Whigs perform together at SXSW:

 

  • I can sympathize with Hitler’s reaction in the video I linked to above – I love Google Reader and am very bummed that it will be retired soon. It’s what I use to keep track of all the links that I share with you in these roundups.
  • A new trailer for Despicable Me 2 has been released:

 

  • Cedric the Entertainer is the new host of Who Wants to be a Millionaire.
  • And finally – The Princess Bride meets Game of Thrones: