5 Reasons to Watch ‘Supergirl’

(Image Credit: CBS)

(Image Credit: CBS)

Look, I know that CBS’s Supergirl didn’t receive the best reviews when it was starting out, and I know some of you are probably wondering how I could ever recommend this show to you. But I am a firm believer in the “you have to watch at least a few episodes” philosophy of television, which states that most shows take at least a few episodes – and sometimes whole seasons – to find their feet. When I first put Supergirl on my DVR, I was just as wary as you, but now, only a few episodes into the show’s first season, I can pretty confidently say I love this show and you should definitely be watching it.

Supergirl is the story of Kara Zor-El a.k.a. Kara Danvers a.k.a. Supergirl. Like her cousin Kal-El a.ka. Clark Kent a.ka. Superman, Kara was sent away from a dying Krypton in order to help humanity. She may have made it to Earth two decades later than planned and may have had to hide her powers for several years, but Kara is now ready to use her powers and follow in her cousin’s footsteps.

Need a little more convincing? I’ll give you a whole list of reasons to watch Supergirl because you should absolutely, positively start watching this show ASAP!

 

Up, Up and Away

Thanks to the Christopher Nolan Batman movies, later seasons of Smallville and every season of Arrow, I am sick and tired of the grim and gloomy hero aesthetic. Thankfully, Supergirl gives me none of that. Kara Zor-El takes her job as the titular hero just as seriously as her male counterparts, but she has fun with it too! There’s not much angsting to be found here because Kara actually wants to be a hero.

With a light-hearted take on its hero material, Supergirl stands out. If, like me, you don’t want to watch another dark iteration of a hero or if you enjoyed the first season of The Flash, you should definitely check out Supergirl. You’ll be glad you did.

 

Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves

As is only right, Supergirl, a TV show about a female superhero, features a lot of stellar female characters and deals with their relationships. Kara and her foster sister, Alex Danvers, are a major focus on the show because they work together and grew up together; and the relationship between Kara and her boss, Cat Grant, is equally emphasized. These women might not always get along, but they respect each other – or are growing to respect each other.

Supergirl promises more female characters and relationships in the future as Kara has an AI version of her mother to talk to, she and Alex spend time with their mother and Kara will at some point have to deal with her aunt Astra, who’s been causing havoc around National City.

 

The Alter Egos

Without Melissa Benoist (Glee) in the lead role, Supergirl would not be half as good. She brings just the right balance to Kara, making her strong and brave like a typical hero but also dorky and cheerful too. Fortunately, like her character, Benoist has strong support all around her and doesn’t have to carry the show all on her own.

Many well-known actors make up the rest of the cast of Supergirl, including Calista Flockhart (Brothers & Sisters, Ally McBeal), Mehcad Brooks (Necessary Roughness, True Blood, Desperate Housewives) and Chyler Leigh (Grey’s Anatomy). Like other superhero shows before it, Supergirl also acknowledges its debts: Dean Cain, who played Superman on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, and Helen Slater, who played Supergirl in the 1984 movie of the same name, make appearances as Kara’s foster parents.

 

Stronger Together

In Supergirl’s second episode, Kara talks about the El family crest – you know, the thing that looks an ‘S’ on both her outfit and Superman’s – and the motto that goes along with it: “stronger together.” It’s yet another different and welcome take on the superhero material, which has been overrun lately with heroes who think they need to do everything alone.

Kara has a team standing by her in the form of Alex, James Olsen and Kara’s best friend Winn Schott, and she intends to rely on them as much as possible. Community is a fabulous and important sentiment for Supergirl to embrace. As Kara says, “Part of being your own man is knowing when to accept help.” That’s a lesson most of us could stand to learn.

 

This is a job for…

So, yes, if you’re looking for a little more Superman in your life, he can be found sparingly in Supergirl, particularly in the first few episodes. Plus, there’s the matter of the originally Superman comics characters Cat Grant and James Olsen and a couple of Superman’s villains to boot. But this story isn’t about him.

One of the most exciting things about Supergirl for comic fans may just be the fact that the show is determined to bring us back to Krypton. Kara lived on the planet for a full twelve years, and she has memories that her cousin doesn’t. Supergirl is slowly but surely bringing Krypton into focus, something that’s helped by the fact that the major season villain is one of Kara’s relatives.

 

Supergirl is a great show for everyone. It’s family and nerd-friendly, features complex female characters and manages to keep its serious and fun sides in balance. In spite of its rocky start, the show is getting a lot right now, and like many TV shows, it’s only getting better as it continues. So, go ahead and play catch-up. We’re only a few episodes in, and CBS has all those episodes available on their website for streaming. I promise Supergirl is worth it.

New episodes air Mondays at 8/7c.

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How to Survive the Winter TV Hiatus

(Image Credit: chika_milan)

(Image Credit: chika_milan)

Winter is coming. No, not the season, as it already upon on us. I’m talking about the winter TV hiatus, a.k.a. the most annoying event to grace our screens until summer. This festering month of all Christmas movies all the time and endless reruns can be difficult for devoted TV viewers. And to make matters worse, it started early this year, with some shows going on hiatus around Thanksgiving rather than waiting until mid-December.

Because the winter hiatus will be longer this year, I wanted to make sure you were all prepared. Depending on your personality, there are a few ways you can survive this hiatus. Read on to find out how!

Binge Watcher

What better way to fill the gaping television-shaped hole in your life than with more television? Whether you stream episodes, watch DVDs or even visit a movie theater occasionally in order to force yourself out of the house, binge watching is one of the best ways to combat a television deficit. Just make sure you don’t use this time to catch up on this season’s shows. If you do that, you’ll only have more TV to mourn come June.

Social Butterfly

Unlike its summery counterpart, the winter TV hiatus is perfect for spending time with friends and family because it’s the holiday season. Both Christmas and New Years’ are coming up, so you can use that as an excuse for parties. Or if throwing parties isn’t your thing, simply gather friends for a low-key game night or hang out. If you’re really lucky, your friends are also suffering from the hiatus, and you can commiserate together.

Fan Girl/Guy

One of my favorite ways of enduring the winter hiatus is rewatching the shows I miss most. It’s guaranteed to be satisfying because it allows you to spend time with characters you love, even if the situations and plots are ones you’ve already seen. For twisty shows like How to Get Away With Murder or Quantico, rewatching will help you keep up with all the ridiculous plots. If rewatching isn’t your thing, try talking about the show with other people on social media or searching out fanfiction or fan art.

Do-It-Yourselfer

The key to a good hiatus is keeping yourself busy so you never miss your shows. Picking up a new hobby can be a great way to do that. Even better, if it’s something crafty, you can get everyone’s holiday gifts done in a jiff, or if it’s cooking/baking, you’ll have food for your holiday parties. Whatever you pick, make sure it’s something you enjoy or can learn quickly. Getting frustrated is not going to help you forget about the simple bliss of watching television.

Reader

A TV hiatus usually means I recover a few hours of downtime per night, and since I never seem to have enough time to read, I like to use the winter months to catch up on my book time. You can either visit the library or ask for books as presents. And if you watch a popular and long-lived show, like Doctor Who, you might just be able to find media tie-ins; books set in the same universe as your TV show.

 

Whichever of these personas fits you, make sure that you distract yourself over the winter TV hiatus. It’s the only way to keep yourself from missing your shows. But when that distraction inevitably doesn’t work, remember that the only good thing about the winter hiatus is that it isn’t as long as the summer one. All your favorite TV shows will be back before you know it!

Chewie Wookiee Cookies from Diamonds for Desserts

(Image Credit: Diamonds for Dessert)

(Image Credit: Diamonds for Dessert)

I was a Star Wars kid. I loved the original trilogy and saw every single one of the prequel movies in theaters. If I had to pretend to be a princess – not my favorite game – I was Princess Leia. Now, with Star Wars: The Force Awakens primed to hit theaters soon, it’s once again time to celebrate all things Star Wars, which is where Diamonds for Desserts’s recipe for Chewie Wookiee Cookies comes into play.

These cookies get their name from our favorite Wookiee, Chewbacca, because they’re designed to look like him – or at least a super cute illustration of him by Philip Tseng. But there’s another reason that Diamonds for Desserts dubbed these cookies “chewie.” The cookie dough used is a Diamonds for Desserts classic, and it makes thick and chewy chocolate chip cookies.

After you have your chewy chocolate chip cookies, it’s time to make them look like Chewie! What I really like about the Diamonds for Desserts recipe is that the Chewie decorations aren’t icing: they’re more chocolate, of both the semisweet and white varieties.

The full recipe at Diamonds for Desserts makes the decorating look easy, but I suspect if you’re not used to doing that kind of thing, it might make you as angry as Anakin Skywalker. But don’t turn to the dark side yet! Remember the cookies don’t have to be perfect the first time. You can always make them again, which means more cookies. And that can only be a good thing.

Everything I Ever Needed to Know, I Learned from… ‘The X-Files!’

It’s kind of amazing how much The X-Files influenced the television shows that came after it. Introducing us to mythology arcs and shipping, the show was an early staple of geek culture. Now, I may have gotten interested in The X-Files way past its 2002 series finale, but as I found when I binge-watched all 202 episodes (which is a ridiculous feat but one I highly recommend), the show still has a ton to teach us, both television-wise and life-wise. Forget about kindergarten. Everything I’ve ever needed to know, I leaned from The X-Files.

 

Trust No One… Except Your Friends

Ahh, one of the shows many, many mantras. It may sound like “trust no one” is intended to make you a paranoid recluse, but even Fox Mulder, major supporter of trusting no one, couldn’t trust no one all the time. Mulder trusted Skinner, The Lone Gunmen and most importantly, he trusted Scully. It may indeed be helpful to be relatively skeptical of strangers and people you don’t know well. As the show professes, they don’t always have your best interests at heart. But The X-Files also shows it’s important to have a few people around that you can trust.

Stay Indoors?

While binge-watching, I noticed a ton of the X-Files take place outdoors and in remote locations. What that means is you will never catch me outdoors or far off in the woods. I don’t want to be made into a bug cocoon, murdered by part-tree and part-human creatures or get infected by an icy parasite. Of course, based on The X-Files, I don’t want to go to Atlantic City either, so maybe the best place is indoors. Or it would be, if episodes like “Squeeze” and “Orison” didn’t show you’re not safe there either.

The Power of Belief

The X-Files often insisted that Mulder was the “believer,” but if there’s anything you learn after 202 episodes of the show, it’s that Mulder and Scully were both believers, just in very different ways. Mulder wanted to believe in powers beyond his control, but Scully already believed in them. Only Scully thought the powers should be couched in terms of science or religion.

As cheesy as it may sound, one of the major themes of the show is learning to believe in yourself. When Mulder met Scully, he was just “Spooky Mulder” who hung out in the basement and had weird ideas. While working the X-Files, Scully had to reconcile her sense of self with the new experiences she encountered, but she never lost sight of who she was. Whatever method of belief works for you, The X-Files definitely wants you to believe.

Rooted in Friendship

Obviously, the relationship between Mulder and Scully is one of the most important aspects of The X-Files. What I particularly like about their relationship is that it’s not always – or even often – portrayed ultra-romantically. But the Mulder and Scully relationship is never a lost cause, whether it’s focused on the romance or not, because the two are simply better together. They respect each other even when they don’t agree, and they work together to get more done. Without Scully, Mulder wouldn’t be who he is at the end of the series, and vice versa for Scully. It’s clear that Scully and Mulder care deeply for each other, and they’re a pretty good pair to emulate in either friendship or romance.

The Truth is Out There

Another X-Files catchphrase, “the truth is out there” was meant to represent Mulder’s quest. Whatever the situation, Mulder had a way of moving ahead, and for that reason, I think the quote contains a great deal of hope. In spite of the many, varied setbacks, Mulder never stopped looking, never stopped hoping. He didn’t get bogged down in hopelessness over his current situation. The truth was always out there, and Mulder wanted to find it. I hope I can remember to do the same.

Fight (for) the Future

How many times did The X-Files get shut down over the course of the show? But Mulder and Scully didn’t give up. They pooled their resources and proved their bosses wrong. Not only did they believe, they fought for what they believed in. The subtitle of the first X-Files movie, “fight the future” doesn’t just mean fight against what’s happening but to fight for what you want. Hey, you might just get a revival of your favorite TV show because of it.

A lot of the time when people think about The X-Files, they only think about aliens or romance, but there’s way more to the show than that. The X-Files influenced many people during its nine season run, and soon, it will get a chance to influence even more. It’s hard to say if the show is coming back due to a combination of hope, drive, belief and friendship, but that’s what I’d like to think because those are some of the values that The X-Files instilled in me. I want to believe. Do you?

Quirky Item of the Week: ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ Cuckoo Clock

(Image Credit: Bradford Exchange)

(Image Credit: Bradford Exchange)

When I first saw The Nightmare Before Christmas as a kid, it terrified me. Thankfully, I’ve gotten over that fear, and now, the movie is one of my favorites. I’m sure all you fellow The Nightmare Before Christmas fans have heard about the new memorabilia at Hot Topic, but Bradford Exchange has something unique you should add to your collection: a The Nightmare Before Christmas cuckoo clock.

This clock has everything you could possibly want to celebrate your favorite movie. Figures of Jack and Sally stand on the front of the almost two foot tall clock, designed to look like the Town Hall clock in The Nightmare Before Christmas with Jack’s Tower sticking up too. Even more exciting, This is Halloween will play every hour while Zero pops out, which is definitely something I’d love seeing and hearing all the time. And did I mention it lights up?

Clearly, The Nightmare Before Christmas cuckoo clock from Bradford Exchange has everything a fan of the movie could possibly want. Buy it for yourself or for a friend, but whichever you do, buy it quick! Bradford Exchange is only doing a limited run of the clocks, and you don’t want to miss your window.

5 Best Halloween Episodes of TV Shows

PARKS AND RECREATION (Image Credit: NBCUniversal Media)

PARKS AND RECREATION (Image Credit: NBCUniversal Media)

When I get my own TV show, I’m writing a Halloween episode every year, not only because I live and breathe Halloween but because, surprisingly, not a lot of shows do a Halloween episode. Then sometimes when shows do have Halloween episodes, the spooky holiday ends up being only a background element in the story. Continue reading

Best and Worst Trick or Treat Candies for the Perfect Candy Haul

(Image Credit: Samantha Grandy)

(Image Credit: Samantha Grandy)

Halloween is by far my favorite holiday. What’s not to like? The whole spooky atmosphere, celebrating all things paranormal, dressing up and of course, most importantly, the treats. Sadly, nearly everyone – except me – considers me too old for trick or treating, so I don’t get as many treats as I used to. But believe me, I still know what I’m taking about when it comes to trick or treat candy. Continue reading

Cast Catch-Up: The Cast of ‘Roswell’

ROSWELL (Image Credit: Twentieth Century Fox)

ROSWELL (Image Credit: Twentieth Century Fox)

As a connoisseur of early 2000s science-fiction television and, I must admit, a huge fan of aliens, I loved Roswell. In addition to all the sci-fi stuff, the show also had a healthy dose of very complicated romance, which is kind of expected on a teen show. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 16 years since the show premiered on the WB – back when there still was a WB! – but those kids who graduated from high school in the series finale have grown up. Continue reading

2015 Emmy Recap: Predictable outcomes balanced by historic wins

67TH PRIMETIME EMMY® AWARDS (Image Credit: Michael Becker/FOX © 2015 FOX BROADCASTING)

67TH PRIMETIME EMMY® AWARDS (Image Credit: Michael Becker/FOX © 2015 FOX BROADCASTING)

I pride myself on watching a ton of television, but I keep hearing about “peak TV” and how you can’t watch everything. Andy Samberg’s opening act for the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards riffed on that idea, except Andy did actually watch everything. I spent a few minutes waiting for a punchline like watching all that TV had put him behind for this year – though this year hasn’t really started yet – but that never came.

Like many of his opening monologue jokes, Andy’s opening act fell a little flat, even though it was enjoyable to watch – and I loved the Les Mis segment but wondered what it had to do with TV. I love Andy on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but he seemed nervous in such a big hosting role. A lot of his commentary, particularly regarding diversity, was spot-on however. And the best thing for television to do is to go further toward creating those diverse roles.

There wasn’t a lot of diversity in the drama categories, not in terms of people but in terms of what show won. The night belonged by-and-large to Game of Thrones, which won four awards tonight, including Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Supporting Actor for Peter Dinklage. The show adds those four Emmys to the eight it picked up at the Creative Arts Emmys, making twelve total and a record-breaking number of wins in a single year.

The only category in which Game of Thrones was nominated but didn’t win was Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. That award went instead to Uzo Aduba for Orange is the New Black. After the Emmy rule changes this year, Orange is the New Black had to compete in the drama category for its second season while its first last year was in the comedy category.

As expected, Orange is the New Black did pick up fewer nominations this year in the always-competitive drama categories – four to last year’s twelve – though it still received a nod for Outstanding Drama Series. The rules change did allow the show to enter the history books as the only series to be nominated in both categories, and with Aduba’s win, she became the second person in history to win the Outstanding Supporting Actor/Actress in both comedy and drama for playing the same character.

But Netflix was not the streaming winner of the night, as many of its nominees couldn’t pull out a win. Instead, it was Amazon Studios who proved that streaming television can fight with its cable and broadcast colleagues. The first season of Transparent took home two major awards – both Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for star Jeffrey Tambor and Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series for series creator Jill Soloway. This was the first time that a streaming show took home more than one major Emmy award.

Not only do both Soloway and Aduba’s wins mark the diverse Emmy year that Andy Samberg talked about in the opening – women are notoriously underrepresented in anything but acting categories and women of color are underrepresented period – but perhaps the best win of the night came with Viola Davis’s Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for How to Get Away with Murder.

Davis’s win marks the first black women to win the award, which is honestly tragic in 67 years of giving them out, and she and fellow nominee Taraji P. Henson for Empire were only the sixth and seventh black women ever nominated. Davis tackled the issue of diversity head-on in her acceptance speech, saying, “The only thing that separates women of color from anything else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles for things that are simply not there.”

After several months now of hearing nothing but praise for Inside Amy Schumer, it’s hardly a surprise that the show took home the award for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series, but a couple of its other nominations fell instead to the final season of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, which nabbed Outstanding Variety Talk Series and both Outstanding Writing and Directing for a Variety Series.

Continuing HBO’s good luck, Veep took home multiple awards in the comedy category, including Outstanding Lead Actress for Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Outstanding Supporting Actor for Tony Hale. It also snapped up the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series. With that win, Veep dethroned Modern Family, which would have made history if it had won this year. Instead, HBO became the first network since NBC in 2002 to win both Outstanding Comedy and Drama Series. Veep is also only the second HBO – and cable network in general – show to win the award after Sex and the City.

By picking up an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her work on Mom, Allison Janney did make history. This is her seventh Emmy award, and she is now tied with Ed Asner for the most performance Emmy wins.

And finally, Jon Hamm managed to snag an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama series for his work on Mad Men. Since this was the show’s final season and Hamm had been previously nominated eight times for the award, I suppose it’s only right that he finally won one. It’s only a shame that I can’t say the same about Amy Poehler for the final season of Park and Recreation.

So that means the Emmys are over for another year. It’s bound to be a different show next year with many long-running shows ending, but first seasons are often in contention for Emmy awards. Just look at Transparent, How to Get Away with Murder and Empire. With that in mind, now is a good time to set your DVR for the new fall season, which starts tomorrow. Maybe one of your new favorite shows will be up for an Emmy next year.

5 Reasons to look forward to ‘Doctor Who’ Season 9

DOCTOR WHO (Image Credit: BBC Worldwide Limited)

DOCTOR WHO (Image Credit: BBC Worldwide Limited)

With Doctor Who set to premiere soon in the US and abroad, it’s time to start getting excited! And boy, does Season 9 sound like one to be excited about. Peter Capaldi proved himself enormously capable of filling the Doctor’s role, leading to a memorable eighth season, and he’s obviously back this year. Though it was touch and go for a while on whether Jenna Coleman would return, she will be back to roam the universe with the Doctor as Clara. But enough about the obvious! Let’s get into the nitty-gritty. Continue reading

Featured Recipe: Amazing Lemon Cupcakes from Zoom Yummy

(Image Credit: Zoom Yummy)

(Image Credit: Zoom Yummy)

With summer coming to a close, I’ve been searching for one last taste of sunshine and these lemon cupcakes from Zoom Yummy just might do the trick! Continue reading

An Open Letter to Fall 2015 TV Premieres: Why So Late?

SCANDAL (Image Credit: ABC)

SCANDAL (Image Credit: ABC)

As a non-sports person, the start of the fall TV season is like my Super Bowl, March Madness and World Series rolled into one. I make a spreadsheet to cover the lineup months in advance and schedule any activities around important shows. I’ve been doing this for years, but this year, a lot of the fall premiere dates gave me pause. Continue reading

Quirky Item of the Week: ‘Doctor Who’ K-9 Slippers

(Image Credit: ThinkGeek)

(Image Credit: ThinkGeek)

Do I love Doctor Who? Affirmative. That’s why I’m so excited about ThinkGeek’s line of Doctor Who merchandise, and just when I thought it couldn’t get any better? They add these K9 slippers, which will not only keep your feet warm but will also provide you with a companion for your long Doctor Who marathons.

Each slipper is fashioned to look like K9’s head and body, and it’s probably good that they emphasized the dog aspect over the robot aspect because robotic slippers don’t sound the least bit comfortable. With these K9 slippers, however, your feet are bound to be both comfortable and adorable.

And if you have friends who also like Doctor Who, go ahead and get them a pair! K9 was featured in both Classic and New Who, so it won’t matter when they started watching. Everyone knows K9!

Ready to buy a pair or two? Of course K9’s response would be “affirmative,” and yours should be too. Check out the K9 slippers at ThinkGeek to start – or continue – your Doctor Who collection.

A Look at DC’s Comic Movie Plans

SUICIDE SQUAD (Image Credit: Warner Bros

SUICIDE SQUAD (Image Credit: Warner Bros)

Given Marvel’s success with their Cinematic Universe starting in 2008, DC comic fans wondered when their time would come. Finally in 2013, Man of Steel gave DC and their cinematic partner Warner Bros. the box-office hit – even if it received mixed critical reviews – they were waiting for, and the plans for the DC shared universe films went into action. Continue reading