Mr. Robot – 1.9 eps1.8_m1rr0r1ng.qt

Let’s be honest, if you’ve watched Mr Robot you’ll know how much of a roller coaster ride it is from the very beginning.  But the penultimate episode of season 1 is where so many things that have been building up throughout the series come to a head.  Shit gets real guys.  And when Maxence Cyrin’s beautiful piano cover of Where is my Mind plays at the end (a cheeky little nod to Fight Club) I get goose-bumps every time.  That scene between Elliot and Tyrell is a perfect climax to all the tension that’s been building up between them.  Ugh, perfection.

arcade

Star Trek (The Original Series): Operation: Annihilate!

The crew take on a weird race of parasitic aliens that happen to look remarkably like pancakes.  So much so that I successfully found out the name of the episode by searching ‘Star Trek pancake alien episode.’  A childhood favourite.

pancake alien

Friends – The One with the Two Parties

It’s so hard to narrow Friends down to just one favourite episode, and of course for a soppy old romantic like me, the Monica and Chandler proposal might seem like an obvious choice.  Another solid contender was The One with the Video Tape, as it’s so cleverly done.  But I actually chose a slightly more serious episode as I feel like it handled Rachel’s struggle with her parents’ divorce really nicely.  We have a touching moment of bonding between her and Chandler, and I melt when he gently moves Rachel from his arms into Ross’.  So sweet and lovely.  Plus the logistics of the two parties and trying to keep Rachel’s parents from running into each other makes for some great comedy.  Also, this beautiful moment:

Joey kiss Mrs Green

Gilmore girls – Friday Night’s Alright for Fighting

Again, it’s impossible to narrow it down to just one episode.  I’ve chosen this one for three reasons:

  • Friday night dinner. This is so well-done, and I feel like the director let himself get really creative with this scene.  It’s over the top, almost theatrically so, but the dialogue as always is fast-paced and witty.  Plus the POV camera angles put you right into the chaos of all the different arguments going on at once.  It’s an interesting technique used to great effect for the first time in this episode, and never again after.friday nights
  • Lorelai’s fantastic and (for some reason) British impression of her mother. ‘Alert the corgis!’ Makes me laugh every time.
  • Emily: I only wished I’d remembered to call her a cocktail waitress.
    Lorelai: [gasping] Oooh. That’s my mother’s version of the ‘c’ word.

The Office – The Job

I think this pretty much sums it up.

office11

The emotion.  Dreamy sigh.

A close second would be the episode where Jim enlists a friend to masquerade as him and convince Dwight that Jim’s been Asian all along.  I love all of Jim’s pranks on Dwight, but that has to be my favourite.

funny-gif-Asian-Jim-The-Officefunny-gif-Jim-portrait-Asianfunny-gif-portrait-prank-Asian

Parks and Recreation – Halloween Surprise

Because I had to get a proposal episode in here somewhere and this is undoubtedly one of the best.

proposal

LOST – Man of Science, Man of Faith

Our first look down the mysterious hatch.  THE NUMBERS!  So much intrigue.  This is easily one of my favourite episodes of LOST, though I was originally going to go with the episode where Jin and Sun die.  But I didn’t because, y’know, I’m not a monster.

Jin and Sun

No YOU’RE crying.

Brooklyn Nine Nine – Halloween II

Jake attempts to pull off another Halloween heist, this time the Captain’s priceless watch.  A clever episode with a fun twist.

deuce

Star Trek Voyager – Twisted

I don’t know why but this episode has always been a favourite of mine.  A strange phenomenon wreaks havoc with the ship and turns it into a weird twisting labyrinth.

Voyager twisted

Sabrina the Teenage Witch – Pancake Madness

I’m ending this list on an absolute high, obviously.  I can’t decide what makes this episode so great, whether it’s the ridiculous song about pancakes being the answer to the riddle (which I’m physically incapable of stopping myself from singing when I eat pancakes), Harvey’s terrible singing of said song, or the giant syrup bottle Sabrina hallucinates when she’s having pancake withdrawals.  Oh yes, that’s right, the premise of this episode is Sabrina developing a crack-like addiction to pancakes (those pancakey bastards up to no good again!).  Also, the syrup bottle’s name is Mrs Mapleton.  10/10.  Absolute genius.  Watch now.

pancake madness

 

I feel like fanfic gets a bad rap.

I think it’s probably because people assume it’s all shameless smut full of Mary Sues (when an author writes themselves into the story, usually as a troubled but bad-ass heroine, or the love interest of their favourite character).  And sure, there is some terrible stuff out there, but there’s also a lot of amazing work written by talented writers.

For me, fanfiction, or any fanworks, make up a valuable part of their fandom.  They’re about picking up where the original left off, exploring alternate realities and delving deeper into the characters’ lives.  I think it’s wonderful that fanfiction brings together talented, creative people, who are so inspired by the world created by their favourite film, book or TV show, that they simply want to live in it a while longer.

Some of the most beautifully written stories I’ve ever read have been fanfiction, and it’s no surprise to me that publishers trawled through fanfic to find their next superstar author (though I’m personally not a fan of 50 Shades of Grey, I think E.L. James’ discovery and subsequent rise to fame is pretty incredible).

Fanfiction may well lead you to some weird places.

For example, and no judgement at all here, but I personally don’t get the whole wolf pack A/B/O dynamics thing.  However I know what I like and what I don’t, and sites like AO3 have a pretty good system of warnings and tags, so you usually know what you’re in for.  Also, I recently stumbled upon Chuckle Brothers fanfiction (I bet my husband that it would exist somewhere, and quickly wished I’d been wrong.  Read in all its bizarre glory here).  I know, I’m as confused as you are.

emma stone what

Sites like AO3 and Fanfiction.net foster a wonderfully creative and (for the most part) supportive environment, where people can share ideas, theories, and character analysis.  As soon as I finish a show I love, I check out fanfic, often to see other people’s take on a particular scene/character, or what they think might come next.  If fills in gaps, gives a unique insight into other people’s interpretations, and sometimes challenges my own.

I love to write fic as well, get myself completely lost in the world, and truly become friends with the characters.

I think what most writers love about it is there are no limits or restrictions, which can take you down some bizarre paths, but can also be wonderfully freeing.  The creator of the original work has established the universe and its parameters, but you’re free to bend them however you like.  You can bring in characters from other universes, change gender and sexuality, and explore alternate realities.

I’ve been reading and writing fanfic since I was a teenager, and it’s always disappointed me that it’s seen by many as nerdy or lame.  It’s exposed me to some truly gifted writers, made me laugh and cry, and meant I could keep enjoying my favourite books/films long after they ended.

Fandom in general gets a bad name, and is perceived by many as screaming girls obsessing over their favourite celebrities.  But for me, it’s so much more than that.  It’s wonderful to get lost in something, over-analyse it, and let your imagination run wild.  And really, isn’t that what entertainment’s all about?

There’s a lot of different fic out there.

Personally, I prefer fics that stick to canon.  For me, that’s when the best stories are born, the ones that truly delve into a character’s mind and explore their motivations and relationships with others.  But again, each to their own.  And that’s truly the joy of fanfiction.  There’s something for everyone.

 

  1. New friends will look at you with a mix of bewilderment and fear when you tell them about your hometown customs. Yet, even when people repeat it back, you still don’t see what sounds crazy about it.For example, Jack in the Green: “So you’re telling me everyone dresses in green, covers themselves in leaves and gets drunk in the Old Town?”  Yes, but you left out the Morris Dancing in the streets.what
    Or: “People march through the streets carrying burning torches, which they use to set fire to a huge effigy on the beach.”  Yes, and that’s how we do Bonfire Night in Sussex, bitches!  FYI, you haven’t done bonfire night until you’ve done it Sussex-style.  An amazing procession, followed by incredible fireworks.  Well worth the trip.
  2. Seagulls run the town. They are the apex predator, the top of the food chain.  You will stop your car to let them cross the road, and yes, you sure as hell will give them your sandwich should they desire it for their lunch.
    seagull

    Actual CCTV footage*

     

  3. People always assume you spent your days swanning around on a fabulous beach, basically in manner of The O.C (or, y’know, a more current reference). Except that you didn’t.  The beaches are pebble, the smell of fish and chips and sound of the nearby amusement arcade fill the air.  But you wouldn’t have it any other way.beach
  4. Except on the odd occasion when you fancy a bit of sand, so head to Camber. Where it is always guaranteed to be windy as hell, ensuring sand in your picnic/eyes/underwear within seconds.eyes
  5. You feel a strange sense of pride when you bring your other half to Hastings for the first time and he spots the cricketer’s ball in Priory Meadow within seconds. This one’s a keeper, for sure.
  6. On that note, no-one will understand why you’re so sad that the famous cricketer statue is now gone. Where will you arrange to meet your friends in town now?!
  7. Talking about P.E lessons, aside from bringing up the usual borrowed kit flashbacks and rope climbing nightmares, leads to yet more bewilderment. Stoolball?!  A strange but wonderful hybrid mix of cricket and baseball, and yet none of your friends outside of Sussex will have ever heard of it.confusion
  8. To this day you can’t work out whether amusement arcades are delightfully quaint, or hideously tacky. Either way you will still spend many a drunken evening in them, dominating the air hockey tables and cleaning up on the 2p machines, for sure.money dance
  9. The enjoyment you derive from correcting everyone you meet about the Battle of Hastings. “Ah, but you know, it didn’t actually take place in Hastings, it happened in” *dramatic pause* “…Battle!”  Cue everyone’s minds being blown.
  10. Yet you still have to suppress an eye-roll when you tell someone you’re from anywhere near Hastings and they start reciting their year 9 History lessons.eye roll
  11. Chortling every time you drive past the sign near Chichester that prohibits all racing by “horse drawn vehicles.”
  12. This frustrating conversation. “I’m from East Sussex.”  “Oh, Essex?” “No, East Sussex”.  “But that’s Essex right?” *Speaking slow and deliberately* “Eeeeast Susssssex.  Different place.”  (That being said, they should totally make ‘The Only Way is East Sussex.’)
  13. The pride you felt when you heard about the men who stole a swan pedalo and attempted to sail to France in it. Not all heroes wear capes people.applause
    Only in Sussex…*Just kidding. Probably.

 

 

If, like me you’re not a morning person (apologies, that sound you just heard was my husband snorting into his drink), the transition into something resembling an actual, like-able human being is likely to be long, painful (for all involved), and dependent on large amounts of caffeine.

I’ve learned over the years however, that there are a few simple ways to make the process of getting up in the morning more bearable, and dare I say it, even enjoyable?  No, I know that sounds ridiculous, but just bear with me here.

pillow

Be organised

Decision-making when you have the motor skills of a zombie is no easy task, so I like to get everything ready the night before.  Lay out your clothes for the following day, wash up your dishes from dinner, pack your bag etc.   Knowing all I have to worry about is literally doing the bare minimum required to keep myself alive, and that I’ll maybe even have time to enjoy myself while doing it, makes all the difference.

sleepy

Start your day with a glass of water

This one doesn’t need much explaining really.  We all know water is amazing for us, and that we should be drinking more of it, but starting your day with a nice big glass really is the best way to kick your system into gear and get things moving.

Make a morning playlist

Without a doubt, my mornings are so much better with music.  Make yourself a playlist of feel-good, up-tempo tunes to jazz up your breakfast, and make shower-time more fun (hairbrush sing-along optional).

My current favourites are:

Hello by Cat Empire
You Can Call Me Al by Paul Simon/Hot Club de Paris
Jump by Van Halen
Gone in the Morning by Newton Faulkner
Good Feelin’ by Flo Rida

shower time

Set your alarm at a reasonable time

Let’s be honest here, that 5:30am alarm you’ve set in the hopes that you’ll leap out of bed and check off half of your to-do list before everyone else has had their first cup of coffee is NOT going to wake you up.  It will wake up your partner, who will obviously chuckle and fondly roll their eyes as you continue to drool onto your pillow (um…), but it will have no effect on you until much nearer the time you actually need to be awake.  So do everyone a favour, be honest with yourself, and set your alarm for a reasonable hour.

alarm clock

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day

Food is about the only thing I love more than being snuggled up in bed, so naturally the thought of a delicious breakfast is often enough to coax me out of my nice warm cocoon (and yes, it did literally just take me three attempts to spell cocoon.  Damn that’s a ridiculous word).

A nice healthy and super easy option is berries with low-fat Greek yoghurt.  Sweetened with a little honey and a sprinkle of metabolism-boosting cinnamon, it’s a delicious way to start the day.  Eggs and soldiers are great if you have a bit more time, and for truly horrendous mornings maybe treat yourself to some pastries and coffee.  Because mornings are hard, and girl, you deserve it.

I’ve recently jumped on the smoothie band-wagon, though I try to use mainly vegetables to limit the sugar content.  Nowhere near as delicious as fruit, and often disgustingly snot-like in colour and consistency, they have the upside of making you feel so virtuous you don’t feel guilty about that mid-morning chocolate bar.  Almost.

Coffee

Or you could just sod all the above, and drink a nice big vat of coffee. Job done.

Coffee

 

 

You may have gathered by now that I’m a huge TV lover, given that it’s what I mostly tweet about.  So I thought I’d do a round-up of everything that’s been floating my boat in the world of television.

Mr Robot

This absolutely had to be the first one on my list, as it’s quite simply phenomenal.  I won’t say too much, but basically the series follows Elliot, a cyber-security engineer by day, and vigilante hacker by night.  Sam Esmail has created a gripping drama filled with complex characters whose motives, for the most part, remain a mystery to the viewer.

Filled with clever nods to iconic movies and enough twists and turns to leave you breathless, this is truly unmissable television.  It’s also worth noting that this show has been widely praised for its accurate portrayal of hacking/programming, but at the same time it’s not so technical that it will alienate any not-so-technologically-inclined viewers.

I could literally talk about this show for hours.  Fantastic writing (in particular Elliot’s inner monologues), striking cinematography, and Mac Quayle’s dark and atmospheric score create a captivating, thrilling world that will suck you in and refuse to let go.

The whole experience is rounded off by an incredible cast who add depth and dimension to the host of intriguing characters Esmail has created.  Special mentions go to Rami Malek (Elliot), who brings so much to his character – vulnerability, intensity, and humour – and Swedish actor, Martin Wallström, who plays ‘villain’ Tyrell Wellick.  To call him a villain would be too black and white, and that’s what also makes this show so intriguing; even by the end of the series we still know so little about each character and their motivations that it’s hard to actually label anyone good or bad.

Wallström is a strange mix of charming and unsettling, threatening and child-like.  Watching his character unravel is fascinating, and it’s oddly difficult not to feel sympathy for him as, unhinged and desperate, he tries to claw his way back to the top.

Season one is on DVD now.  Season two starts 13th July.  If you watch just one show on my list, make it this one.

Elliot

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

It’s impossible not to love this feel-good offering from Tina Fey.  The show follows Kimmy, who is adjusting to life in New York City after being rescued from 15 years spent in an underground bunker as part of a doomsday cult.  Doesn’t exactly sound cheery, but cheery it is, and ridiculously so.  Ellie Kemper is wonderful as the relentlessly optimistic Kimmy, and Jane Krakowski is as fantastically self-absorbed and altogether ridiculous as she was in 30 Rock.

If you haven’t watched this show already, where have you been?  Watch both seasons now on Netflix.
 kimmy

The Bridge

I’m a little bit obsessed with Nordic Noir, and for me The Bridge is crime drama at its absolute finest.  Well-crafted and perfectly-paced, each ten episode season follows one case, and guarantees a dizzying, emotional climax.

Season one begins with a body found on the Öresund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden, and the bridge remains a pivotal part of the show throughout, symbolising the relationship not only between the two countries, but our two lead detectives, Martin and Saga.

It really is their chemistry that makes the show great.  He is the classic maverick cop, likeable yet flawed, while she is blunt, uptight and a stickler for the rules.  While their clashing personalities and resulting disagreements could easily seem contrived, instead it feels natural as we watch them grow together, and better each other.

I’m very much hoping for a fourth season, but in the meantime there’s certainly no shortage of Scandinavian crime shows that I can’t wait to sink my teeth into.  Next up will probably be The Killing, or Blue Eyes, which I’ve recently had highly recommended.

A big fan of Kenneth Brannagh’s Wallander (rumoured to be returning for a new season soon, hurrah!), I’m keen to check out the original.

And one to look forward to…

…Gilmore girls!

I couldn’t exactly write this post without mentioning the upcoming Gilmore Girls reunion.  If you’re a die-hard Gilly (a term coined by the awesome Gilmore Guys – seriously, check out their podcast if you haven’t already) like me, you’ll already know what’s being planned.  Four 90 minute episodes set during and named after each season.

No news on a release date yet, though rumour has it we will get our first installment late 2016/early 2017.  I’m literally bursting with excitement, and not at all ashamed to admit I wept with joy when the official announcement was made.  Finally we will get the ending (and those infamous final four words) that Amy Sherman-Palladino had planned for us, and I have no doubt in my mind that it will be everything we hoped for and more.

gilmore girls