‘God Friended Me’ Blessed My TV And It Will Bless Yours Too

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably seen me talk about the show God Friended Me a lot. And here I am with a whole blog post about it. I can’t stop raving about this show, you guys.

If you don’t know what this show is, it’s a new CBS show about a young podcasting atheist named Miles who gets a Facebook friend and many friend suggestions from an account called God. He soon figures out that he’s meant to help these random friend suggestions in some way, so while he is curious as to who this God is and how these people are all connected and why he, an atheist, is the one this God is calling upon, he does enjoy helping people. He does so with the assistance of Rakesh, his coworker and best friend, and Cara, a journalist and new friend. They’re all such likable characters.

god friended me cast.
Violette Beane, Brandon Michael Hall, and Suraj Sharma as Cara, Miles, and Rakesh.

And I know that if you’ve never heard of this show and you’re reading this post, you may think that I’m some bible thumper, pushing some religious propaganda TV show on you, but I assure you, I am not. In fact, though I was raised Catholic, I had actually decided to stop going to church about two weeks before this show aired, so this really shouldn’t be a show I take to while I’m rethinking the place that religion/Catholicism has in my life. My point is that even if you don’t believe in God or call God by another name, this show is still worth watching for reasons I shall now explain.

God Friended Me is an incredibly light, pure show. Every single episode has themes of humanity, hope, and happiness, so it’s such a feel-good show. Every Sunday or Monday night I watched it, it left me feeling calm and happy and so satisfied. I cannot recommend it enough if you need something light (both in terms of style and literal lighting) to counteract the Game Of Thrones or American Horror Story or whatever other dark things you watch. This show also has elements of mystery, romance, comedy, and drama, all mixed to create this fun, enjoyable show unlike anything else on TV.

Cara, Miles, and Rakesh at Miles' sister's bar.

In terms of the religious aspect, I think the show does a fabulous job about not being preachy or pushy. Miles is an atheist, but his father is a pastor, and while that does lead to some tension among the characters, the show does not push one side on you, the viewer. Both sides have their legitimate reasons, and I think it is neat to have a show that portrays religious people as normal but also able to see flaws within their system (eg. the gay marriage issue). The show doesn’t use religion to justify behavior. Though I think it would be cool to see more of other religions too. Maybe this Facebook God is a Jewish one. Or a Hindu one.

Of course, this is not to say that God Friended Me is perfect. No, there are some small aspects of it that I don’t love. For one, though Miles and Rakesh live in New York, they both don’t seem to work that much. Miles will straight up walk out of work every time he gets a new friend suggestion. At least when Cara tags along, she can pass it off as finding a story. Another issue is that there have been a few times when Miles offers to watch the kid of the person he is trying to help, and they take him off on that offer. Like, I know they’re usually desperate, but you’re just going to let this random man you just met a solid two minutes ago have control of your child? What sane parent would agree to that? And a last issue is that there have been several Broadway stars guest starring on the show and there has been zero singing yet, which is a big missed opportunity.

This show isn’t one that can run for a decade, but I can see it lasting several great years. Its first season just ended a few days ago (with a fun cliffhanger!), and it’s been renewed for a second. I can’t wait to see Miles, Cara, and Rakesh continue to help more people and make NYC a better place. I don’t even care if the God account mystery ever gets solved; I just love these characters and watching this original, pure show every week.

Miles recording his podcast.

So, yeah, I highly recommend it. It was an unexpected surprisingly great show—definitely the best of the new seasons— that I’m so glad I started, and I know you’ll enjoy it too. You’ve got all summer to catch up, so get to it and get on this train of adoration! Amen.

 

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Netflix: You’re Playing Yourself

Netflix is on some thin freaking ice over in this household, let me tell you.

What was once a revolutionary, groundbreaking platform servicing content lovers in a unique way is now a greedy, dime a dozen platform that really doesn’t understand its audiences at all. And I can’t wait to see it self-destruct, all on its own accord. Which it will, if it keeps up with its behavior.

As I said, Netflix used to be in a league of its own. It used to be the only streaming service, and for a good price too. For people who liked consuming content without commercials or binge-watching, it was perfect. But now it’s not alone. Whether anyone asked for it or not, there are several streaming services out now, and several more to come. Off the top of my head there is Hulu, Crave, Amazon Prime, DC Universe, and the soon to be available Disney+. And there are many more smaller ones as well as the regular old internet where you can stream anything for free if you know how and don’t mind the illegalness of it. So you’d think that if Netflix wanted to keep its users and compete with these newer platforms, they’d act like it.

you don't care gif

But they don’t seem to care.

First the price: just last week in Canada, they raised the prices for all the plans by about 30%. Now Netflix prices are almost double what they started out as. How are students supposed to afford that? Even in other countries, there are price hikes. And I get that Netflix can raise prices and they have a right to increase profits when they spend so much on their original content, but it’s not conducive to retaining customers or attracting new ones in this competitive age. My father has announced that next year, he’s probably cancelling our subscription (we only got it in the first place because it came with our TV package for a year and we decided to keep it) and I’m not even that mad considering I don’t use it that often and can stream anything I want from other places if I so desire. With more and more streaming services out there, people aren’t going to want them all, so they’re going to look at two things: price and content.

And Netflix isn’t shining in the content department, either. Especially not in Canada or countries other than America. I guess there are laws on what Netflix can or can’t have in other countries, but I can personally confirm that Canada’s selection is abysmal. There have been so many shows I’ve wanted to watch and Netflix has let me down. And while we do get every Netflix original, even they aren’t great. Sure, Netflix has produced a lot of winners, but there are also a lot of losers. Have you ever looked through Netflix’s originals catalog? There’s a lot there that I’ve never heard of. Not every show can get super popular, but you’d think that Netflix would specialize in shows people want to watch and get hype. And even the ones that do get hype aren’t always that great, in my opinion. Last year, everyone went gaga for A Christmas Prince. As a huge fan of cheesy Christmas movies, I obviously watched it. It wasn’t anything special. I’ve seen cheesier, better-acted, more original Christmas movies with way better romance from Hallmark, who cranks out dozens every year. And yet Netflix made a sequel this year. Surprise-surprise: it was way worse. Boring, not as cute, worse acting, and a dumb plot.

im disappointed but not surprised gif

And my point isn’t that Netflix can’t have any crappy shows—goodness knows network TV has a lot of junk too—but you’d just think that since they’re the masters of their own domain and don’t have as many hoops to jump through the way other shows/movies do, there’d be more content of a higher quality. Instead we get Insatiable and 13 Reasons Why.

“But Netflix totally wants to please us! They kept FRIENDS!” Okay, yes, they did keep FRIENDS after the internet made a big stink about potentially losing it this week, but at what cost? 100 million. As this Tweet points out, there are many other ways to watch that show and that money could have been used to make new/better content or save beloved cable shows. But yeah, let’s keep raising monthly prices.

And I’ll be honest, a big motivator for this rant came from the cancellation of Daredevil. I was big time mad when it was announced. Though it may not have been Netflix’s fault as it seems Disney wanted it (or the property) for Disney+, the fact that Daredevil and the other Marvel shows are essentially done really lessens the attraction of Netflix for me and many people. And now there are rumors that because of contracts between Marvel and Netflix, if Disney+ wanted to keep the show going (and use the season four that was already planned out, by the way) they legally couldn’t use the same cast, so what would be the point of a new version? You can’t beat perfection.

Anyway, once Netflix cancels Jessica Jones and The Punisher, the only Netflix original show I’ll care about that’s still alive is Queer Eye, because I doubt Canada’s luck is going to turn and we’ll get good other content from them. Or from any of them. Hulu and DC Universe aren’t available here. I’ll just stick to watching things online illegally and watching the eventual downfall of all the streaming services (but especially Netflix). It’s why regular TV will never die.

watching it crumble gif

So…is anyone else mad at Netflix (and/or the plethora of streaming services)? Be mad with me.

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Is There Such Thing As A Perfect TV Wedding?

Another year of TV has recently come to a close, and this year, I was treated to four TV weddings. Of these four TV weddings, only one of them went somewhat as planned, and even that is a bit of a stretch. Haven’t you noticed how TV weddings can never go right? There’s always gotta be something that happens, something that messes up what is supposed to be the most magical event of these characters’ lives.

Fitzsimmons' wedding on Agents Of SHIELD
While Fitz and Simmons’ wedding did go according to the last minute plan, there’s no way it’s the wedding either of them wanted to have. Their real-life families weren’t there, Yo-yo wasn’t present, Lance and Bobbi were missing…it was cute and all, but it wasn’t perfect.

I feel so bad for all these fictional characters. I mean, I myself have not gotten married, but I imagine that when I do things will go as planned, and if things did go awry, they’d be very small, insignificant things like an awkward 10-second break in between songs or a glass breaking accidentally. Things that when my future attractive husband and I look back on the event we won’t really remember or care about because everything else came together perfectly.

But TV characters don’t get that luxury because TV weddings always go wrong. Always. Why is that? Why can’t we just get a nice event where it all goes right? Do networks think that’s boring? Because I’m at the point now where wedding mishaps are what’s boring me. Oh, a literal last-minute unexpected venue change? Wowee. I can’t even enjoy the events because I’m just so annoyed to watch yet another TV wedding go awry only to have it come together in a ‘cute’ way at the very end. We have to sit there and pretend that the ‘cute’ way is more meaningful and special and it’s all good when it is NOT all good. It is not all good at all, because if those ‘cute’ little weddings happened in real life to real life people who spent real life time and money planning their dream wedding, it would suck to have it all be messed up on the day of.

I did a count, and I have seen 28 TV weddings over 16 shows (give or take a few, and I’m not counting shows where there were only quick clips of a wedding like This Is Us or The Middle). Of those shows, 8 are comedies and the others are actions/dramas. Of course, not every wedding from those 28 were complete messes. Barney and Robin’s wedding in How I Met Your Mother goes over smoothly except for the fact that both of them had major pre-wedding jitters. Chandler and Monica’s wedding in Friends also goes well except that Joey arrives in a soldier costume from filming and does an awful job as the minister, and the reception is largely overshadowed among the three girls by Rachel’s pregnancy. Brittany and Santana’s wedding on Glee also goes well, except Kurt and Blaine spontaneously got married alongside them, so though they gave the go-ahead, it was clearly not what they planned for.

The only two TV weddings that I can think of that go essentially perfectly in terms of who attends and how it happens are Jane and Kurt’s on Blindspot (though we didn’t really see the wedding, only a quick montage and later some recordings) and Burt and Carole’s on Glee. Burt and Carole weren’t even main characters; they were hardly secondary characters. Isn’t it sad that those are the only two TV weddings that I can think of that go completely well?

Burt and Carole getting married on Glee

Can you think of other TV weddings that go perfectly? Because if you can, cherish them for defying the genre and odds. Relish in their easiness because who knows when we’ll see another one again. And in case a TV writer is for some reason reading this post, know that I for one would really appreciate seeing nice TV weddings that go according to plan. We root for these characters, and in some cases, their lives are stressful enough, so they at the very least deserve to have a nice wedding day. We as viewers deserve that too. Please.

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An Archie Fan’s Perspective Of ‘Riverdale’ Post Season 2

If you were reading my blog at the start of 2017, you’d know that I was head over heels hyped for the CW show Riverdale, a darker and more dramatic twist on the light and long-running Archie Comics. I had been keeping up with news of the show long before it aired, and when it did air, I even wrote this blog post in which I explained my thoughts on the pilot. Because I was a huge fan of the comics and because I enjoyed the pilot, I obviously continued watching the show with enthusiasm.

But guys. I don’t think I’ve ever changed my opinion on a show so much so fast. Here we are at the end of season two (34 episodes since the pilot) and I can’t believe how disappointed I am with this show now. Everything I liked about it is gone and we’re just left with these over-the-top and unfamiliar characters and zany plots. I’ve watched a lot of shows, some of which haven’t been fabulous and some of which had low moments, but I’ve held on and been able to overlook the negatives because of the prominent positives. But with Riverdale as it is, I’m struggling to do so.

 disappointed gif
Me over the course of 35 episodes

The show has become trashy. It’s a bunch of wildly dramatic sixteen-year-olds acting like they’re twenty-five in the middle of a random mystery that isn’t even compelling anymore. I kind of hoped the Black Hood would kill them all, honestly. Season one, though not perfect, was decent. The episodes fit in well with each other and didn’t drag on, we got a good introduction to all the characters, and it was interesting enough to keep me watching. There was great music often, I liked some of the parallels between the kids and the adults, and I didn’t mind the modern and darker twist on the characters because it fit in well with the world created for the show. At times it was borderline weird or cheesy or cliché (with most of this coming solely from Cheryl/The Blossoms, so it was almost okay) but that didn’t linger. The show should have ended after season one with the mystery being solved.

Season two is just a whole new show and it’s a hot mess. The characters are more dramatic and annoying, their decision-making is waaaay out of the realm of a normal sixteen-year-old, and the drama is just tiring and unrelatable. No longer are there child/parent parallels or football vs music dilemmas or the core four enjoying milkshakes and smiles at Pops. Now there’s stalking and street racing and guns and gangs and blackmail and more. The plots are all over the place. One episode had Betty tearfully cutting ties with her friends so the Black Hood wouldn’t kill them, and the next one had them all being friends in public again with no mention of the killer or his connection to her. One episode would have Veronica loyal to her parents and their habits, and the next she was going against them all. There was no sense of connection or a storyline in season two.

Jughead sighing disappointedly gif
Me thinking about this show

I knew a couple people who watched the show and they have all called it quits. I do not blame them. I often considered walking away mid-season, but I didn’t for three reasons. One, I had nothing else to watch during its timeslot. Two, I have trouble letting go — I always have. And three, because I still (foolishly, probably) had hope that the show can get better. But I just can’t do it anymore. Season two is over and though the show has been renewed and I still don’t have anything to watch Wednesdays at 8pm, I don’t think I can keep going. I never want to become one of those people who consumes something solely so they can revel in their hatred for it online, so I do my best to keep my livetweets somewhat positive, but it’s so hard when the disaster of a show makes it so easy to be critical.

And speaking of livetweets, what really is shocking me is that people still seem to love Riverdale. I read tweets upon tweets from people invested in the show and loving every new dramatic moment. Are they watching it ironically or despite the awfulness? Or do they legitimately think this is quality television?

So this is me, breaking up with this show. It hurts me to do so considering how freaking pumped I was for it, but it hurts me more to watch the nonsense every week. I am disappointed, to say the least. And if you started watching the show because I told you to, I apologize. I should have foreseen this based off of the first few episodes, but I was a fool. I’ll go back to my Archie Comics, where things are happy and concise and enjoyable.

Anyway, I’ll leave you with this video I saw in my YouTube recommendations (which was weird, since I haven’t even watched any Riverdale videos lately) as it perfectly sums up what I’m saying here. The creator of this video has several other Riverdale follow-ups, so look into that if you care.

 

And if you found that interesting, there’s also this video that also breaks down why Riverdale is just so bad.

That’s all for now!

 

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Goodbye To ‘The Middle,’ An Underrated Show

Next week (the 22nd) marks the end of ABC’s family comedy The Middle. Though it started the same year as Modern Family and is quite similar at times, this show never got the same amount of love and attention, which is a shame considering how great it is. After nine years, this show is coming to an end. Luckily, it’s a planned end.

The Middle logo

I found this show by accident. Well, my brother and I did, about six years ago. It came on after something we were watching and we never got around to changing the channel. Next thing we knew, we were laughing at this family try to play a mish-mashed board game while camping, and I was flipping through a TV guide to find the name of the show. We made our parents watch it later as well, and even they enjoy it still.

For those who don’t know it (and shame on you), The Middle is about a lower-middle-class family in Indiana, the Hecks. There’s Frankie, the mom, who is overbearing and nosey, but caring and passionate. There’s Mike, the dad, who’s reserved and passive and calm. There’s Axl, the oldest son, who’s wild and sarcastic and outgoing. There’s Sue, the middle child, who’s bubbly and peppy and determined. And there’s Brick, the awkward youngest child, who’s quiet and quirky and has a bit of a disability (palilalia). They’re all dynamic characters and we get to see them grow and survive and face life. They are really average characters doing average things, but in that sense, it’s very relatable. In the nine seasons, we’ve seen them struggle with a lot, be it financial issues, relationship issues, family issues, and more, and it’s always done in a real and honest way. It’s similar to Malcolm In The Middle in this way, but better. My mom reminds me of Frankie a lot. There was one episode where Axl went off to college and Frankie kept constantly texting him to see how he was while Mike just let him be, and that is 100% my parents’ dynamic with me.

The Heck family

This show is also hilarious. Of course it has sweet moments and sad moments sprinkled in, but the show is primarily a comedy so mostly there are just plain funny moments. All the characters deliver the laughs in their own ways, and they work so well together despite their varying personalities. The family dynamic is so great, it feels a lot more real than that of Modern Family. And the humour maintained throughout. This past season, because the writers knew it was the last and gave it their all, was amazing. I was laughing every episode.

I’m really going to miss this show. It was always a pure 30 minutes in of my week. Though these characters weren’t always thriving and having a good time, The Middle is really a feel-good show because there was always goodness and family under everything.

I already said Frankie reminded me of my mom, and though Mike and Axl only occasionally remind me of my father and brother, I didn’t really find myself relating strongly to Sue, but I wish I did. Sue was always, always so positive and open and unique, and I wish I was more like that. Nothing got her down and she never let anyone stop her from doing what she loved. If I take one thing from this show, it’s how refreshing and wonderful characters like Sue Heck are, and how I should try to be more like her.

Sue Heck smiling gif

Anyway, if you’re looking for a light and underrated comedy show to watch that is a standout for family shows and comedy shows, give The Middle a try. It’s great for the whole family, and you, too, will quickly fall in love with the average relatableness of the Hecks. And to the cast, the crew, and the network: thank you for giving us such a great show and allowing it to be the quaint, endearing show it is. I hope it ends well, but know that even if it doesn’t, it’ll always have a place in my heart.

P.S. This is the 200th post on my blog!

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