I have spent the past 15+ months nursing a smallish human. We’re down to 5-6 times a day, but that’s still multiple cumulative hours that I need to find something to do so I don’t go slightly insane while I BF. It used to write blog posts, but once Ans got big enough to WRECK SHOP with feet, hands, and her entire 22 lbs, there hasn’t been so much of that. I’ve spent most of the past year binging on TV shows and books. My cousin-in-law, Jamie, and my neighbor, BE, are about to pop, and it seems like about a dozen other friends are new parents (or new parents, the sequel) to their very own humans, so here is my go-to list for entertainment via a smartphone, tablet, or good-old-fashioned book:
1. Pretty Little Liars. There’s a reason it’s number one on my list. I’ve just been on a bender for the last 2-3 weeks watching all 3-1/2 seasons and reading the first four books. It’s on ABC Family, so there are no swear words, much making out, or blood, for that matter, but it’s about as suspenseful as this gal can take. Hubs asks why I’m tucked under the covers to my eyes whimpering and I reply, “Scary dolls! The music!” Shut up. It’s snarky, funny, and brings me back to my tweenage to teenage self, needing to fit in and keeping dumb secrets. Four best friends drift apart after their 5th friend and the leader of the group is murdered, all while wearing clothes I wish I had the guts to wear in public. Years later, they are harassed by “A,” who happens to know all of the dirty little secrets that they shared with the girl that died. Seasons 1-3 are on Netflix and Season 4B of PLL comes back January 7th, 2014.2. Scandal. This was a fun one to dive into. I love strong female leads, and Olivia Pope is large and in charge, even when she is shattering from the man who supposedly loves her, but can’t be with her because he happens to be the (married) president, and let’s not forget about all of the daddy issues. No matter, Liv will wear her finest white clothing and drink red wine until she figures out how to fix whatever it is that needs fixing. Lots of great love scenes, fast-paced dialogue, and intrigue. It’s the grown-up version of PLL. Seasons 1 and 2 are on Netflix, Season 3B will be back on February 27, 2014 to account for Kerry Washington’s real life pregnancy (Squeeee!).
3. Orange is the New Black. This Netflix original show blew me away in the first couple of episodes. I kept hearing about it on FB and how once you got into it, you’d be sneaking in minutes at a time while running errands or on a lunch break. It’s worth the hype and the inevitable marathon. Piper Chapman is incarcerated for a little over a year, a decade after carrying drugs for her then-girlfriend. She is not the prison type but the friendships she develops while behind bars humanizes the inmates and tells their story. I immediately read the book once the first season ended. The tv version is of course embellished, but both are highly binge-worthy. Season 2 is expected to air in Spring of 2014.
4. Parks and Recreation. You can’t go wrong with Amy Poehler. Hubs has a special kinship with Ron Swanson, too. Leslie Knope works in PARD and rallies her band of misfit government co-workers to caring about improving their small town of Pawnee. Another powerful female lead/feminist at heart – yes, there is a pattern here. Each episode is funny on its own or you can plow through the seasons like Hubs and I did. We are at a standoff because I can’t keep watching them on my own without getting in trouble and he started reading a book. I make much more of a dent in a series if watching by myself. There are five seasons on Netflix and the 6B is coming back on January 16th, 2014.
5. 30 Rock. Yes to the Yes. Tina Fey is magnificent: She’s a self-depricating feminist. I love that Liz Lemon is so flawed and probably relate to her flaws a little too much. Alec Baldwin used to creep to me on the many times he hosted SNL, but once I started watching 30 Rock, I finally got why is soft, breathy delivery is so funny. Liz Lemon writes live sketch comedy, a la SNL, and this is like a behind-the-scenes of dealing with the talent, writers, and network suits. See my previous post for an extended love letter to Tina Fey. Again, all 7 seasons are all on Netflix. PS – a little birdie told me that Tina has a new show that just got the green light about a women’s college that is just now accepting male students. She’s not in the show, but is one of the writers.
6. The Vampire Diaries. I have had a lady boner for Ian Somerhalder ever since he was Boone on Lost. Elena falls for two brothers who are vampires. There’s lots of high school and eventual college deliciousness to the as-of-now 5 seasons. I don’t quite endorse all of the Originals storylines that plagued the past couple of seasons, but they now have their own spinoff and aren’t so front and center. Mostly I didn’t like how the original vampires, who are thousands of years old and siblings, all have different accents. Let’s just see some making out and Damon’s impulsive plotlines, shall we? Seasons 1-4 are on Netflix and Season 5B starts January 23, 2014.7. Revenge. I have a medium boner for the show. It has a lot to do with the clothes and color palette of the show, but I do enjoy the story line of a gal out for revenge years after her father took the fall for the bad deeds of the wealthy and powerful Greyson family. There are some decent lines, but mostly a lot of brooding. I still watch it though. Seasons 1 and 2 are on Netflix and Season 3B comes back January 5, 2014. 8. Candy Crush. I play this on my phone when I’m between shows and books. I hate/love/hate it. But it’s nice to play a game that only uses one finger and doesn’t (always) rely on time in case Ans hasn’t fallen asleep yet and wants to switch sides a dillion times. 9. The Vampire Academy Series. Oh, how I love a good vampire story. There are six novels by Richelle Mead about Rose Hathaway, a half-vampire bodyguard of a Moroi (vampire) princess, Lissa Dragomir. The dangerous vamps are called Strigoi. So there are new races to get used to, but I like the spin on the traditional vampire lore and love story. There is a movie that I’m very much looking forward to Valentines Day, 2014. A second series from a different character’s point of view is called Bloodlines who is not a vampire, but instead an alchemist – they’re the somewhat supernatural humans charged with hiding the vampire race from regular human life.
10. Revenge Wears Prada. Lauren Weisberger’s 5th novel, after The Devil Wears Prada, is just as readable as the first and came out this year. I actually recommend all of her books, including Everyone Worth Knowing, Chasing Harry Winston, and Last Night and Chateau Marmont. I find them to satisfy whatever craving I have to read gossip blogs, except they’re automatically better for me since they are books and based in fiction.UPDATE:
11. Alias: I almost forgot that I spent a good chunk of time re-watching this series for the THIRD TIME. When I first fell down this rabbit hole, I was mid-MLA and should have been making landscape models a little more carefully (exacto knives + eyes on the TV = bandaids). Back then, I was waiting for season 5 to come back on the air. And as you might read in the comments below, I rented the DVDs, then bought them, in the same month, because I am both efficient with time and money. Jennifer Garner is Sydney Bristow, a double agent in hilarious costumes trying to take down a fake-CIA group called SD-6, along with her father, who is also a double agent. Bradley Cooper was also in it before he made it big. In the first couple of seasons, she drives a Land Cruiser FJ62, just like the one that I used to have and am still very sad I don’t have any more. All 5 seasons are on Netflix.Do you have any shows or books of 2013 that made you lose weeks at a time and make your family forget what color your eyes are? Tell me in the comments so I can plan 2014 accordingly.