What I've Been Watching | August 2014

Since I  have to watch new shows weekly to review for my podcast, I don't often get to talk about the shows I love to watch, recreationally, just for myself. I thought I'd put together a monthly list of what I've been loving, some old, some new, but all worth checking out.

Outlander (Starz)
I have been waiting for this series to start for months and I'm so glad that it's finally here! Outlander is the story of a married military nurse in 1945, who during a second honeymoon in Scotland, is hurdled back through time to 1743. While facing unforeseen dangers in a world in which she is a constant outsider, Claire is forced into the arms of Jamie Fraser, a chivalrous and romantic Scotsman that she finds herself falling for. Claire's heart is torn between two very different men in two completely different times. The show is adapted from Diana Gabaldon's book series of the same name. 

Now that we all know what the show is about, let's get down to the nitty-gritty. This show is basically my dream romance novel in TV form. It has time travel, suspense, intrigue, romance, passion, witty banter and a smart and sassy heroine. Oh, and best of all, Scotsmen! Kilt wearing, sword fighting Scots with swoon-worthy accents. 

It also brings all the best characteristics of a good TV show into the mix. Amazing sets and locations, fantastic acting, wonderful writing, a dash of sex and violence that have actual relevance in the story. Sigh. This show has it all. All the best bits I want in a show. And right now, I can't seem to get enough. After every episode I'm left wanting more. What kind of trouble is Claire going to get herself into next? When are Jamie and Claire going to get together? Will it be awesome? That's not even really a question. I know it will be. 

Rush (USA)

OK, I'll admit it. I totally starting watching Rush because I thought the lead, Tom Ellis, was good looking and I could use an infusion eye candy in my summer TV watching. He is good looking, but I ended up enjoying the show for its other merits. 

Rush is about a rebel Doctor who is unaffiliated with any hospital and makes cash-only house calls to high-end clientele that rely on his discretion to keep things hush hush. He's pretty much a drug addict, but a very smart one with a medical degree, who knows exactly how to mix his drugs. That doesn't sound pertinent but it's important to note that even though he's a screw-up, when it comes to being a Doctor he is actually quite brilliant and good at what he does. He isn't unfeeling or completely narcissistic. He's kind of like Dr. House, but better looking and with more compassion and loyalty towards his friends. 

He has a few quirks which I think make him a more interesting and well rounded character. I like that he's not just another brilliant jerk. I also really love the interplay between him and his assistant, whom he previously helped escape from an abusive relationship. They seem to have a genuine friendship and really understand each other without all the cliche sexual tension. Definitely worth checking out if you like bad-boy Doctors and procedural dramas with a touch of comedy.

Side Note: I also just realized that Tom Ellis is Welsh! His American accent is pretty fantastic.

Project Runway (Lifetime)

Project Runway has returned for its 13th season. It doesn't matter what the scenario, you give me fledgling designers, Tim Gunn, Heidi Klum and Nina Garcia and I will watch. This format just works for me. The judges' personalities mesh so well and they've really developed their own individual voices over these 13 seasons. I'm a huge fan, and unless they start fiddling around too much with the format, I don't foresee there ever being a time in which I'll stop tuning in.

Every new season seems to have a few additional rules where the designers are concerned and this season the contestants get to vote on who they think is getting eliminated and who won the challenge. Of course their votes in no way effect the judging, but it's interesting to hear how they think everyone is doing and how they rate their fellow designers.

Pretty Little Liars (ABC Family)

Oh, the drama! PLL is back for its 5th season and we still don't really know who A is. And although you'd think one would get tired of this never-ending quest to find A, this show just keeps you guessing and leading down different paths until you can't even remember where you've been because you're so focused on what could possibly come next. 

I know it's on ABC Family, and many people dismiss it as being juvenile or something only teenage girls watch, but let me set you straight. It's incredibly addictive, there are barrels of suspense and this show is never predictable. Go to Netflix, add it to your guilty pleasure list and let me know when you can't sleep anymore because you're just trying to fit in one more episode, find one more clue that you're sure will crack who A is. The mid-season finale just aired and though it was spoiled for me by twitter, I still don't know how much of what I saw I should trust. This show is truly a conspiracy theorist's dream.

True Blood (HBO)

Now, for something I didn't enjoy so much. The 7th and final season of True Blood has come to an end, and I'm left feeling incredibly disappointed. Not because things were left unresolved or I just wanted more and more seasons, but because the finale, and most of this season as a whole, was completely underwhelming. Without posting spoilers, I feel as if they focused on story lines which none of us really cared about and resolved series long relationship troubles in nonsensical ways. 

I have long been annoyed with Sookie for her indecisiveness and when she does make decisions I'm left with the irresistible urge to slap some sense into her. I feel like by the end I didn't even really care how it ended because I had lost all the love and respect I had for the characters and the writing. They didn't redeem themselves with that finale. I'm left feeling as if I've wasted so much time the past few years keeping up with a show that really didn't deserve my viewership, and I'll leave it at that.

So that's all for the month of August. If you're interested in hearing more about what I have to say with regards to television, check out my weekly podcast, Antenna Heads! My co-hosts and I are currently watching trailers for all the new shows expected to air this Fall and discussing our first impressions, how we think they'll do and what we'll be tuning in for.

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