What I've Been Watching | January 2015

Unlike December, the month of January brought me lots of new and returning TV favorites to discuss and recommend. Here's what I've been loving lately.

Dowton returned for its fifth season and I needed to start watching it right away! Since I know a lot of you might not be caught up I won't post any spoilers, but suffice it to say though there are some heartache-inducing moments this season wasn't as gut-wrenching as some others. It's been announced that the next season will most likely be Downton's last and though I'll definitely miss the series I think it makes sense. Can't wait to see how it will all end.

GRAND HOTEL (Gran Hotel)
After devouring the first season of Velvet of Netflix last month I was on the hunt for some other foreign TV shows to watch. I came across Grand Hotel, a Spanish period drama about the disappearance of one of a lavish hotel's maids and the secret investigation her brother undertakes by getting a job as a waiter. It's set in 1905 and the beautiful costumes and sets are similar to what you get from a show like Downton, but it feels much more like a murder mystery than anything else. Though I enjoyed the show I've only seen the first five episodes and don't really know when I'll get to the rest. It doesn't have that same sense of camaraderie and humor that Velvet had. But if you love a great whodunnit and want a quality show with the appeal of a period drama, this will be right up your alley.

The Liars recently returned to their old tricks and I took the opportunity to get caught up on a couple of episodes I had missed and to get back into watching it on a weekly basis. It's becoming more and more evident that high school days are coming to an end for the girls and it's time to decide what will come next for them. Will they ever be able to get away from the manipulations of  'A' and live normal lives? Drama unfolds, there are more run-ins with 'A' and some romances shift and grow. So, pretty much the usual. But per usual, it's suspenseful and addictive and I'm loving it.

I've raved about The Fall before and if you haven't seen the first season yet you need to add it to your Netflix queue ASAP. This month my prayers were answered and the second season was finally added to Netflix. Though the structure of this season is different from the first, it's no less gripping. Not only is the acting and writing superb but you get to watch the incredibly gorgeous Jamie Dornan be crazy and creepy. The sexiest serial killer around! You seriously need to go watch it. You can thank me later.

This was probably the biggest surprise of the month! When I first watched the trailer for Empire last summer for my TV podcast, Antenna Heads, I thought the show looked idiotic. It just sounded like King Lear retold in a modern-day hip-hop record label and I was sure it would be a flop. But then I watched the first episode to discuss on the podcast and it was amazing! Yes, the basic premise is not a new idea but that really is just the baseboard for the story. The characters themselves and the acting are what make this show truly shine. In the trailer Cookie just seemed like an obnoxious drama queen but in reality she is the heroine of the show. She has some rough edges and a messy past but she has so much sass and genuine emotion that you can't help but fall in love with her. The music on the show is also fantastically produced (thanks to Timbaland) and gives you the feeling that this could be an actual record label. These are songs you could absolutely hear on the radio tomorrow. And unlike in shows like Glee, the characters don't randomly break into song unless they are actually working on composing one. I've been watching the show faithfully since it aired and can't wait for more.

That's it for my January TV favorites! What did you love watching last month? Anything new added to Netflix that I should be checking out? Let me know. If you want to hear more of my thoughts on TV you can listen to my weekly podcast for the latest on new shows and what's worth checking out. I basically watch a bunch of crap so you don't have to!

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