A critical review of your new favorite television shows

Three nights ago, I set up my first official account on Netflix. My long-term relationship with Mike guaranteed some access to Netflix, but Mike eventually discontinued his subscription and I had to rely on nbc.com’s weekly uploads and also some probably illegal streaming. But the other night I caved and made an account!

Since the first month is free and it’s really not all that much money anyway, I have definitely been using the subscription to its fullest value. I’ve probably watched at least 12-15 hours of television since setting it up. Yup. But before you tell me I’m wasting my time, I should add that I’ve watched some truly good television I wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity to watch. Also, I’m not taking any summer classes so just relax. I’m blogging to tell you that you should take a look at these shows if you haven’t.

Parks & Recreation, better known as “Parks ‘n’ Rec”
I know, everyone’s either heard of or seen this show. And until recently, I had only seen a few episodes, only to concede that it was okay, but ultimately too much like NBC’s The Office with its mockumentary style and awkward humor. No! It’s still awkward, but way better. As I am wont to do in the summer months, I decided to start from the beginning – Episode 1, Season 1 – so I could give it a chance to impress me. Sure, the first few episodes weren’t much since the characters weren’t too developed (case in point: Tom, Leslie’s assistant, is waaaay apathetic toward his job and has a much more deadpan style. Also, nobody really hates Jerry yet.) – but it quickly gets better. Leslie becomes way more overzealous and Ron becomes way more libertarian/apathetic/hilarious.

My purpose isn’t to explain the full character arcs, but just to recommend starting from the beginning! I definitely have a better grasp on the character relationships and the backstories of everyone. So good – 4.4 stars, if I’m going to rate it.

Running Wilde
This is actually a Mike-recommendation based on a Netflix-recommendation (I think). Running borrows a little bit from Arrested Development, at least with its core characters, Will Arnett and, to a lesser extent, David Cross, but has a passably distinct premise and more interesting scenery. The show is about a clueless rich guy (Will Arnett) who constantly flaunts his wealth and fake generosity to win back his high school sweetheart, who spends her time trying to prevent the extinction of Amazonian tribes with her daughter, Puddle, and gross fiancé, David Cross, who sports a fittingly gross goatee braid. It’s gross.

But beyond that, Puddle is very cute and undertakes a vow of silence to convince her mother she needs to get out of the wilderness. Puddle colludes with Will Arnett (hereafter known as Will Arnett) to stay in his mansion and sparks fly between Will Arnett and the female lead. If you liked AR and want to see more Will Arnett/David Cross, this show is pretty good and has an interesting dynamic. It doesn’t totally compare to AR, but what does? I only watched the first two episodes, but it probably gets better after that. I give it a 3.5/5 stars.

Twin Peaks
Totally hooked! There is a great soundtrack that plays on a loop and a lot of grungy teenagers – a combination that sums up most great television. The storyline of Peaks revolves around the seemingly random murder of Laura Palmer, a stereotypical popular girl at her high school, and the impact of her death on the small town in which she lived. When the police dig a little deeper, though, they find that Laura was not just a prom queen with a football-playin’ boyfriend, but, like many of the show’s characters, maintains a darker life as a prostitute and cocaine addict.

I barely scratched the surface with that summary, but you get the point. The show has some awesome scenery of the Pacific Northwest (the show takes place in the fictional town of Twin Peaks, Washington) and a haunting soundtrack. There is also a supernatural streak to it and it really works, even though it’s not always my thing. Also, if you get a kick out of the late 80s and early 90s, you’ll really enjoy this show. I give the show a 4.5/5, even though the pilot is super long (1 ½ hours).

So, readers, I hope you took something away from these reviews, like an idea of what to watch next (Peaks, hands down). Good luck!

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