Better Call Saul: A Staple of Television Entertainment

If you are a fan of popular crime dramas and dark comedies, then chances are that you have already binge-watched AMC’s “Better Call Saul” and maybe even rewatched the whole series another time over! Over its five-season run, “Better Call Saul” has proved to be a series worthy of a large audience’s attention.

Better Call SaulWhat makes “Better Call Saul” a staple of television? Debuting on February 8, 2015, “Better Call Saul”, captured the attention of many, as it was announced to be a prequel to AMC’s critically acclaimed, fan-favorite show “Breaking Bad.” The show, being referred to by some critics as a prequel measuring up to its predecessor, has also received critical acclaim, known for exceptional cinematography, phenomenal character development, and superb acting.

With episodes running just around an hour each, “Better Call Saul” is a show determined to capture and hold onto the attention of its viewers, exploring the constantly evolving question, who is Saul Goodman?

The Appeal Of Saul Goodman

“Better Call Saul” follows lead protagonist Saul Goodman, portrayed by Bob Odenkirk in a prequel series to that of “Breaking Bad,” in which he enters the criminal underworld, more specifically drug trafficking. The show explores his slow transformation into the persona known as Saul Goodman. The audience follows his journey as he lives by his ideals that nice guys finish last and both the positive and negative side effects he faces as a direct result of this mindset.

Better Call Saul Season 2It is apparent from early on in the shows running that our lead protagonist and anti-hero Saul Goodman is not heading to a very pleasant end, however, the show seems more concerned with developing why this is. In many ways, the show highlights exactly why our protagonist deserves less than the usual amount of empathy, a clever creative choice for the protagonist of a show which tends to lend itself to a quite unique tone and point of view for audiences.

Adding to the character’s appeal, Saul Goodman does not accept this title willingly until the near end of season 4! His true identity of Jimmy McGill truly steps out of the limelight at this point as we are formally introduced to the new permanent persona of Saul Goodman. From this point on the show opens the floodgates to endless attention-grabbing opportunities that are sure to hook people in for many episodes to come.

“It’s Jimmy’s thorny relationships… that made up the most involving elements of Better Call Saul’s sorrowful, emotionally knotty, fantastic follow-up season,” MTV’s Inkoo Kang expressed when speaking about season two.

Exceptional Reception

Deemed by many as an exceptional and in the eyes of some, one of the best prequel series to date, “Better Call Saul” was a smash hit to many audiences since its initial debut in 2015. Receiving an impressive rating of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, season one was definitely off to an amazingly well-received first season.

Contrary to many other shows, “Better Call Saul” has only improved these, already impressive ratings as the next two seasons saw the same score on Rotten Tomatoes, followed by 99% for its fourth season and a stunning 100% perfect score, based on 24 reviews, for its fifth season. Audiences were and still are raving about this revolutionary show and its masterful execution of creative, riveting concepts.

“The new season proves Better Call Saul remains one of the finest shows on television” NPR’s Eric Deggans explained, “with visually ambitious storytelling used to depict complex characters headed for a tragic end.”

Better Call Saul Season 4The show’s astonishingly developed characters create an immersive experience, unlike any other show, with lead Bob Odenkirk giving an indescribable depth to his portrayal of a character who can be described as quite unorthodox at times. The show is known for taking audiences on an emotional rollercoaster as, more often than not, the audience will receive a painful loss for every victory Saul Goodman receives.

As Ben Travers from indieWire perfectly puts it, “All of these consistently astonishing formal touches combine to create a value that outweighs the pain,” later referring to the show as “a double-edged sword of reward and loss.” 

Some critics have even expressed their preference of “Better Call Saul” over its predecessor “Breaking Bad!” As stated by Tim Surette of TV Guide Magazine, “It’s time that we really consider that Better Call Saul is equaling the quality of Breaking Bad, and in some ways doing even better”

Better Call Saul Awards And Nominations

2015

  • 2015 American Film Institute Awards – Televisions Programs of the Year
  • 5th Critics’ Choice Television Awards – Best Actor in a Drama Series
  • 5th Critics’ Choice Television Awards – Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
  • 31st TCA Awards – Outstanding New Program

2016

  • 68th Writers Guild of America Awards – Episodic Drama
  • 20th Satellite Awards – Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries, or TV Film
  • 7th Critics’ Choice Television Awards – Best Actor in a Drama Series
  • 2016 American Film Institute Awards – Television Programs of the Year

2017

  • 21st Satellite Awards – Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries, or TV Film

2018

2019

  • 35th TCA Awards – Outstanding Achievement in Drama
  • 45th Saturn Awards – Best Action-Thriller Television Series

Takeaway

The amount of recognition this show has received is a direct result of the creators’ abilities to craft a uniquely compelling story and deliver it to audiences in an interesting way. There is not a reasonable doubt in anyone’s mind that this show is clearly beloved by many and there is definitely no question as to how it has received the success it has achieved in its five-season run thus far. “Better Call Saul” has left an impression on American television and is sure to remain as a staple for what amazing, well-delivered storytelling is and always should be.

Categories TV

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist – Most Heartwarming Scenes

Warning: SPOILERS for Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist

NBC’s newest comedy-drama Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist offers a clever and quirky reimagining of the musical genre. After an earthquake disrupts her MRI, computer coder Zoey Clarke (Jane Levy) gains the ability to perceive the thoughts and feelings of those around her. Instead of just hearing what people are thinking, however, Zoey sees these people reveal their secret selves through elaborate song and dance numbers that only she can see and hear. Now essentially trapped in a musical, Zoey must figure out how to live with her new gift.   

Jane Levy Stars In Zoeys Extraordinary Playlist

It sounds ridiculous – but show creator Austin Winsberg know how to approach the bizarre premise from an angle that offers plenty of laughs and more than a few tears. While most of the musical numbers are upbeat and hilarious (seeing Zoey’s co-workers faun over a legendary tech genius by serenading him with a rendition of “Jesus Christ Superstar” is particularly funny) the show makes time for quiet, emotional moments as well.  

Musical numbers are meant to evoke strong feelings, after all, and after only three episodes, the show already contains plenty of tear-jerking scenes to get the audience emotionally invested in its tuneful cast. Here are the most heartwarming scenes (to date) from Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.             

Max Chats with Zoey’s Paralyzed Father (Episode 2)

Despite the show’s musical premise, not all the emotional scenes require the actors to sing. In the pilot episode, Zoey discovers her co-worker and best friend Max (Skylar Astin) is secretly in love with her. Uncomfortable with this revelation, Zoey starts avoiding him but has to deal with Max when he shows up unexpectedly at her parents’ house one night.

Max surprises Zoey, however, when he reveals he didn’t come to see her but drop off some food for her father. Mitch Clarke (Peter Gallagher) is dying from a neurological disease that’s left him paralyzed and unable to speak. However, Max still remembers Mitch’s kindness, something he never got from his own father. Touched, Zoey invites him in and sees Max chat with Mitch, who’s unable to reply but glad for the company. It’s a heartwarming scene – and there’s a look Zoey gives Max that indicates she might be seeing her friend in a new light.        

Zoey’s Office Crush Reveals He’s Depressed (Episode 1)

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist NBCWhile Zoey initially viewed the spontaneous musical numbers around her as an annoyance, she realizes how perceptive her gift can make her one night when she sees her office crush Simon (John Clarence Stewart) break into song. Although Simon always puts on a happy face for his co-workers, his musical number – Tears for Fears’ “Mad World” – reveals he’s actually in a lot of emotional pain.

Concerned, Zoey approaches him and discovers Simon’s dad recently killed himself. The two bond over their shared tragic experiences with their fathers, although Zoey also learns Simon is engaged, complicating her feelings for him.         

Mitch Sings to Zoey (Episode 1)

By far the most talked-about scene in the pilot episode of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist occurs when Zoey, unable to cope with the changes in her life, turns to her father for help. Heartbroken that Mitch can’t talk to her, and not sure if he even knows that she’s there, Zoey turns away – only for Mitch to suddenly stand up and sing Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” to her. It’s an amazing moment that shows Zoey that her father is still with her, he loves her, and her previously unwanted gift allows them to communicate.           

Mitch Reaches Out to His Family (Episode 1)

Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist New EpisodeWhile Zoey’s newfound ability to connect with her father through song is touching, what happens next is arguably more powerful. After learning her father is aware of his surroundings, Zoey convinces her family to take him sailing. Everyone is apprehensive about taking Mitch outside, but once on the boat, Zoey’s mother Maggie (Mary Steenburgen) admits being on the water brings back a lot of good memories. To everyone’s amazement, Mitch makes a supreme effort and manages to take Maggie’s hand in his to show he feels the same way.

For a show that’s regularly fast paced and over-the-top, the scene is remarkably quiet and gentle – focusing simply on the family’s expressions as Mitch reveals he’s still there. It’s a moment that manages to connect with any audience member who’s had to deal with an aging parent or family crisis.  

Zoey Helps Her Mother Deal with Her Frustration (Episode 3)

The first two episodes dealt primarily with Mitch’s frustrations with his condition. However, the third episode flips this by examining how his illness affects those around him – particularly his wife. When Zoey sees her mother sing a heartbreaking rendition of Al Green’s “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” she realizes how stressed her mother is from having to constantly take care of her husband.

This leads to a heartfelt intervention by Zoey and her brother who offer to spend more time taking care of Mitch so Maggie can take care of herself. “I love your smile,” Zoey tells her mother. “But only if it’s real.” Mitch himself chimes in by typing his wife a short message: YOU’RE AMAZING. LET THEM HELP. on his laptop. It’s a remarkable display of love and support that shows how important the Clarke family dynamic is to the show.   

Zoey Motivates Her Boss (Episode 3)

Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist Season 1One excellent aspect of the show is its ability to take cliché characters and showcase their hidden depths through song. Zoey’s boss Joan (Lauren Graham) comes across as a typical hard-nosed, ball busting career woman in the pilot. And on many shows, that’s exactly how she’d remain. However, in the third episode, Zoey discovers Joan is in a toxic relationship with her husband, a narcissistic tech genius who uses his star power to gain leverage over Joan’s company.

While Zoey tries to maintain a professional distance from her boss, thanks to her musical power, she’s constantly reminded of Joan’s pain. Ultimately giving her boss a chance to vent her problems, Zoey finds herself unexpectedly bonding with Joan and motivates her to take charge of her own life. When Joan finally leaves her husband and decides to promote her company on her own – breaking into her version of Katy Perry’s “Roar” – the audience is firmly on the side of this previously unlikeable woman.

Fans of musical theatre know that the song and dance numbers are more than just eye and ear candy. They give characters a chance to be almost painfully exposed on stage as they belt out their greatest hopes, fears, and insecurities. Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlisttakes full advantage of this by allowing Zoey and the viewers to see the cast at its most vulnerable – and relatable. It’s an approach that promises plenty of emotional drama as the series explores how far it can take its musical premise.    

Categories TV

The Blacklist Is Renewed For Season 8 At NBC

If you are a long time fan of one of NBC’s most popular shows “The Blacklist”, then today is your lucky day! The well-known series has just been renewed for its eighth season with talks of plans for the show’s future spanning much further than just one season.

The Blacklist TV Series James Spader“Congratulations to our incredible cast, producers and crew, all of whom continue to reach excellence week in and week out” Lisa Katz and Tracy Pakosta, Co-Presidents of Scripted Programming at NBC Entertainment, expressed. “We couldn’t be more excited to continue Red and Liz’s story into season eight.”

This jaw-dropping, highly anticipated news was announced to the cast and crew of “The Blacklist” while they attended their 150th episode celebration. A video posted to the NBC twitter account NBC Entertainment (@nbc) perfectly captures their reaction to the wonderful news.

“The Blacklist” Beginnings

“The Blacklist,” starring James Spader as a high-profile criminal by the name of Raymond ‘Red” Reddington, alongside a rookie FBI profiler by the name of Elizabeth Keen, played by Megan Boone, follows the duo’s search for the world’s most dangerous criminals, informed by a list that has recorded documentation of these elusive individuals spanning over the length of many years.

The Blacklist Season 8Red, a former U.S. Navy officer, now a high profile criminal, who for years has alluded law enforcement’s attempts at his capture, voluntarily surrenders himself to the FBI and forms a bargain to be granted immunity from his prosecution in exchange for his extensive knowledge surrounding the elusive criminals on the list and more importantly their whereabouts.

The show was met with instant success upon its release in September 2013. Its first season received many strong reviews from a large number of critics, scoring an 85% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes! Unlike the majority of shows, “The Blacklist” continues to deliver unexpected plot twists and compelling plot lines that are sure to entice even those who claim to not be fans of the crime drama genre.

“The Blacklist,” is built upon a shining supporting cast with popular well-known names such as Diego Klattenhoff as Donald Ressler, Ryan Eggold as Tom Keen, Parminder Nagra as Meera Malik, Harry Lennix as Harold Cooper, Amir Arison as Aram Mojtabai, Mozhan Marno as Samar Navabi, and Hisham Tawfiq as Dembe Zuma. Each individual makes up a key part of “The Blacklist” universe and helps form the show’s appeal.

Audience Perceptions

“The Blacklist is a solid weekly crime show built around a genuine TV star” Robert Bianco of USA Today expressed. Continuing to deliver strong ratings well through season seven, it should come as no surprise that executives at NBC have made the decision to continue following the universe of these compelling, thrilling stories into an eighth season.

The Blacklist TV Crew“It’s due to the brilliant cast, crew and our writing staff, led by Jon Bokenkamp and John Eisendrath, who commit to unparalleled creativity. Wait until you see what’s in store for season eight.” Chris Parnell, Co-President, Sony Pictures Television teased. “The Blacklist continues to tell exciting and imaginative stories”

With the current hiatus continuing into March 20, 2020, fans, filled with anticipation for the return of their favorite, beloved show, are sure to be more than enthusiastic about this news. “The Blacklist is back in top form with fresh dangers that put Red on the ropes while giving James Spader room to shine” reads the consensus. David Wiegand of San Francisco Chronicle commented about the show describing that “You think you know the situation and how it will turn out, but there are surprising, yet entirely credible, twists throughout [the] episode.”

Awards and Nominations

This one of a kind crime drama, that has taken millions by storm, has earned its spot in receiving a number of various prestigious accolades. In 2014 alone, the show won “Top TV Series” at the ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards as well as Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Drama Series, Miniseries, or Movie at the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards.

Other nominations for the show include, but are not limited to:

  • 2014 – Golden Globe Awards – Best Actor – Television Series Drama – James Spader
  • 2014 – People’s Choice Awards – Favorite New Television Drama – The Blacklist
  • 2014 – Entertainment Weekly Season Finale Awards – Best Non-Romantic Cliffhanger
  • 2014 – Entertainment Weekly Season Finale Awards – Funniest Moment in Drama
  • 2014 – Entertainment Weekly Season Finale Awards – Weakest/Most Divisive Twits
  • 2014 – Entertainment Weekly Season Finale Awards – Best Final Shot
  • 2014 – Entertainment Weekly Season Finale Awards – Most Likely to Earn Someone An Emmy Nomination
  • 2014 – Entertainment Weekly Season Finale Awards – Biggest Regret That I Didn’t See It, I Just Heard Or Read About It
  • 2014 – Saturn Award – Best Network Television Series Release – The Blacklist
  • 2014 – Saturn Award – Best Actor in a Television Series – James Spader
  • 2015 – Golden Globe Awards – Best Actor – Television Series Drama – James Spader
  • 2015 – Primetime Emmy Awards – Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Drama Series
  • 2016 – Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards – Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Drama Series, Miniseries, or Movie – The Blacklist
  • 2016 – Screen Actors Guild Awards – Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble – The Blacklist
  • 2017 – People’s Choice Awards – Favorite TV Crime Drama – The Blacklist
  • Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards – Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Drama Series, Miniseries, or Movie

With its easy access availability of seasons one through six now available on Netflix, there is no excuse to not be caught up and ready to watch season eight live when it premiers! The premiere of season eight is expected to be one of the most viewed the show has yet to see with the massive amounts of devoted Blacklist fans craving the next bit of the show’s lore.

With so many lingering unanswered questions and so many unfinished plotlines, such as uncovering the true identity of lead role Red, many fans speculate that “The Blacklist” won’t be going anywhere anytime soon and for very good reason. Season 7 left viewers on the edge of their seats and season 8 is sure to do the same if not far much more!

Categories TV

6 Best Taboo Sex Scenes in “Riverdale”

For a TV series based on a wholesome, all-American comic book, “Riverdale” has offered audiences multiple risqué sex scenes in virtually every episode. Many of these scenes not only gleefully play with the places its teenage cast can engage in sexual acts but also who their erotic activities are shared with. On that titillating note, here are the best taboo sex scenes from “Riverdale.”  

Archie and Ms. Grundy have sex in her car (Season 1, Episode 1)

Right from the start, “Riverdale” promised it would deliver something very different from its comic book source material when its pilot episode establishes that 16-year-old Archie Andrews is sleeping with his music teacher Geraldine Grundy (Sarah Habel). In the very first episode, the two are seen going at it hot and heavy in the backseat of Miss Grundy’s car while a summer storm pours outside.

Geraldine Grundy and Archie having sex in the car

To make things even more taboo, it’s later revealed that “Ms. Grundy” is actually a woman named Jennifer Gibson who changed her name to flee an abusive relationship. She also regularly seduces and preys on younger men as she continues having sex with teenage boys after ending her relationship with Archie. She’s a far cry from the strict, elderly schoolmarm of the comic books, but Archie certainly doesn’t seem to be complaining.      

Betty seduces Chuck Clayton then nearly drowns him (Season 1, Episode 3)

Sweet girl next door Betty Cooper always seemed so gentle and kind – until she discovers sports star Chuck Clayton has been spreading nasty rumors about Veronica Lodge after one date. Furious, Betty convinces Chuck she wants to be a “bad girl” and invites him over to a friend’s house for some quality time in the hot tub. She then greets him dressed in a black bob wig and lingerie… and from there, things get really crazy.

First, Betty drugs Chuck’s drink to make him more forthcoming. Then she handcuffs him to the hot tub. Next, she threatens to “boil him alive” in the bubbling water unless he records a confession of what really went on between Veronica and him. Still not willing to stop, Betty pushes Chuck under the water and threatens to drown him unless he apologizes. Finally, she pours maple syrup over his head. It’s a disturbing, sexual, and weirdly ridiculous scene – and just the beginning of the really strange scenes from “Riverdale.”      

Betty's Hot Tub Transformation Riverdale

Cheryl Blossom and Toni Topaz have lesbian bondage sex (Season 3, Episode 15)

Lesbian sex scenes aren’t nearly as taboo today as they were when they first graced television scenes – but this sex scene between Cheryl Blossom and Toni Topaz had a lot of build up behind it. Originally antagonistic to Toni, a member of the Southside Serpent gang, Cheryl eventually opens up to Toni and even confesses a past attraction to another girl. The two end up beginning a relationship, threatened by Cheryl’s conservative family. Nevertheless, sexual tension between the two keeps growing, leading to one boiling sex scene in the third season episode “American Dreams.”

After casing and breaking into La Bonne Nuit, Cheryl gets cornered by Toni. Staring her girlfriend right in the face, Cheryl asks if Toni is going to “cuff her.” A very steamy sexual encounter follows – complete with blindfolds, bondage, and intercut scenes with Archie in a bloody boxing tournament. Shockingly, one of the hottest “Riverdale” sex scenes later ends with Cheryl and Toni breaking up. The show is anything but predictable.

Cheryl Blossom Toni Lopez Lesbian Bondage

Archie and Veronica have sex in the shower – after his father is shot (Season 2, Episode 1)

The scene’s taboo nature stems not from the location of the sex act, but the timing. At the beginning of the episode, Archie takes his father to the hospital after Fred Andrews is shot in the season one finale. Fred’s injury is very messy and Archie ends up covered in his father’s blood. After his father is out of surgery, Veronica and Archie go back to Archie’s house where Veronica suggests Archie take a shower.

As Archie scrubs his father’s blood off of his body, Veronica inexplicably decides to join him in the shower, leading to a (literally) steamy sex scene where Veronica leaves her pearl necklace on and Archie continues letting his father’s blood flow down the drain. Viewers were likely left at a loss as to whether this scene should be considered disturbing or titillating. Knowing “Riverdale,” it’s probably both.

Archie and Veronica Shower Scene

Archie and Veronica have sex in a prison locker room (Season 3, Episode 5)

If nothing else, Archie and Veronica prove they have a very powerful “anything goes” attitude in regards to where they choose to have sex. So, when Archie gets sent to prison after being wrongfully accused of manslaughter, he naturally gets a visit from Veronica Lodge. “Disguised” in a blonde wig, Veronica finds Archie in the prison locker room cleaning up after participating in the warden’s underground fight club. Informing him that she has friends who snuck her into the prison, Veronica then tells her boyfriend they have twenty minutes together. Determined not to let any of that time go to waste, Archie picks up his girlfriend, slams her against the lockers, and proceeds to do what comes naturally.   

Betty performs a strip tease in a biker bar – in front of her mother (Season 2, Episode 8)

Betty Cooper has always been a supportive girlfriend. So, when she learns that FP, the father of her boyfriend Jughead Jones, will be having a motorcycle retirement party, she decides to send him off with a personalized striptease dance. Apparently, a sexy pole dance is the unofficial initiation for any woman who wants to join the biker gang, and Betty is nothing if not accommodating. Donning some sexy lingerie under her usually conservative outfit, Betty gets a recording of “Mad World” ready and proceeds to entertain a gang of rowdy bikers.

What makes Betty’s dance insanely taboo is that her audience includes her boyfriend, her boyfriend’s father… and her mother. Alice Cooper is clearly shocked by her daughter’s performance – but FP ends up thanking Betty for performing at his retirement party and the biker audience gives her a round of applause. “Riverdale” adults may have some deviant tastes… but at least they’re supportive.

With “Riverdale” now entering its fifth season, fans can likely expect even racier, steamier, and sexier content as future storylines attempt to surpass the already over-the-top sex scenes the show has already offered. The “anything goes” mentality of “Riverdale” may shock some viewers who are only familiar with the comic book version of Archie and the gang – but it’s a huge draw for fans of the compulsively watchable television series.  

Categories TV

7 Reasons You Shouldn’t Cut the Cord on Cable TV

People consider cutting the cord to cable television for two main reasons. The first is because they had a bad experience with a cable provider. The second is because they are trying to cut down on monthly expenses. Both are valid reasons, but there are several things you should consider before you decide to cut the cord for good.

Best Collection of TV Channels

Cable TV HD Channels There’s no denying that Spectrum TV Packages have the best collection of TV channels, like HGTV, History, Bravo, AMC, and more. If you cut the cord, you may have to give up some of your favorite shows. Not to mention, you’ll have to give up those late nights channel surfing. You know, those nights where you just want to shut off your brain and flip back and forth between Pawn Stars and Everybody Loves Raymond reruns?

Bundled Pricing

Cable providers shine when it comes to bundling. You might be considering cutting the cord to cable because you find yourself streaming Netflix or Prime a lot of the time. But you’re probably streaming those platforms using the high-speed internet that is bundled with your cable. If you cancel your cable, you will lose the big monthly savings you are receiving through bundling.

If you aren’t bundling your Internet with your cable, what are you waiting for? If you’re looking for cost-savings every month, you should start there. Cable providers have really upped their game when it comes to Internet speeds. Spectrum Internet Plans start at a very impressive 100 Mbps and offers download speeds of up to 940 Mbps!  You never have to worry about buffering with even the most basic plan. But you’ll see the most value when you bundle with cable.

In-Home Entertainment

Cable TV PPV EventsIn addition to bundled pricing, you should consider the value of in-home entertainment. A family trip to the movies easily costs close to $100 these days. Going out to eat can be even more expensive. If a movie On-Demand or pizza in front of your favorite show keeps you home one extra day a month, you’ve made your money back.

Custom Packages 

Many cable providers give customers control over the channels they are paying for. Customers can customize different cable plans to get all their favorite channels without having to buy the biggest plan. Oftentimes, just adding a couple of channels to the most basic plan can meet all of your entertainment needs. You can even add premium movie packages or specialty sports packs to the most affordable plans.

Negotiable Pricing

Cable TV DealsA lot of people reach to cut the cord as soon as their promotional period is over. After the standard 12-month period, your cable costs can increase substantially. But cable providers leave wiggle room in their pricing. They don’t want to lose you as a customer and will work with you to give you the most entertainment value for your budget.

The cable industry is also very competitive. While your cable provider will try to negotiate to keep you as a customer, competing cable providers will try to steal you away. So, if you want to save money and you’re unhappy with your cable provider, talk to their competitors. Competitors offer all kinds of incentives to switch to their service.

Sports, Sports, Sports!

You’re not going to find Sunday’s big game on Netflix. Hands down, cable TV still has the stronghold on sports coverage. Sports packs give you access to premium regional and international sports networks. Whether you want to watch college ball, international soccer, or never miss an NFL game, cable TV has you covered. You can customize your cable plan with various sports packages.

 Special Live Events

Cable TV On Demand HDIf you’re a red-carpet junkie or a fan of Holiday specials, you’ll need to think twice before canceling your cable. The Grammys and Oscars are at home on cable tv. A lot of Christmas and New Year’s specials are only found on cable as well. A lot of people forget to consider this seasonal entertainment when deciding to cut off their cable. They don’t realize their mistake until it’s time to watch them again.

Pay-Per-View and New Movies

Let’s be honest, most Netflix movies are pretty terrible. And while Prime Video has better movie options, they charge for all of the best ones. Cable TV offers a wide range of movie channels and packages. Often, the newest box office hits are available on cable first. Pay-per-view options also give you the best movies at a great price.

Speaking of Pay-per-view, don’t forget about boxing matches and MMA events. These special events are also available on cable.  Don’t lose your status as your friends’ hero if you can’t host fight nights at your house anymore.

On-Demand and Streaming

Cable TV BundlesCable providers aren’t stuck in the stone age. They have jumped on the streaming bandwagon and offer great streaming options. You can find hundreds of On Demand movies and tv episodes that you can watch anytime and anywhere. The apps work on virtually any smart device, and you can stream on multiple devices at a time.

Most cable providers also have their very own App, like the DIRECTV App. You can stream On-Demand shows, watch live TV, and even watch your DVR recordings. It gives you all the flexibility of the top streaming apps with the added perk of having full access to your recordings. It’s a win-win.

Should I Cancel Cable TV?

Cutting the cord isn’t going to save you as much as you might think. And there are always other cable providers who would love to bribe you to join their service. Most importantly, there are other cable providers who can provide the customer service you deserve.

Netflix and other streaming options still have big holes in their entertainment platforms. And, of course, you can’t beat the value of bundling high-speed internet with cable. Before you give up your favorite shows and channels, consider the above reasons to stay.

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Categories TV

The Most WTF Moments of Season 7 of “Game of Thrones” That Nobody Saw Coming

HBO’s “Game of Thrones” continues to be one of the most entertaining shows on TV. The show’s creators have not been afraid to kill off some of our favorite characters, and the many plot twists related to the Lannisters, Starks and other family dynasties of Westeros can be head spinning. Alliances keep shifting overnight, and nobody is really safe. With that in mind, here are some of the most WTF moments of Season 7 of “Game of Thrones” that nobody saw coming.

#1: Arya poisons the Freys in an act of coldhearted revenge

Remember back in Season 1 when we thought young Arya was going to be sweet and pure? Well, something clicked on inside her when members of her family – including both Robb Stark and Catelyn Stark – were slaughtered at the infamous Red Wedding. Ever since then, she has vowed to wipe the Frey family off the face of the Westeros map. At the end of Season 6, for example, she cut the throat of Lord Walder Frey and displayed her willingness to exact coldhearted revenge.

And things get nasty real quick in Episode 1 of Season 7, when the entire Frey clan has assembled at the site of the original Red Wedding. “Lord Walder Frey” hands out wine to everyone gathered in the hall to celebrate – and, of course, within minutes, everyone is clutching at their throats, vomiting blood and keeling over. They’ve been poisoned! At this point, “Lord Walder Frey” rips off his mask – and it’s actually Arya! She has just used a death mask to impersonate her most hated rival, using that as a way to get her highly anticipated revenge against the entire Frey clan.

#2: Olenna Tyrell gets her sinister revenge on the Lannisters

We always knew Olenna Tyrell was bitter and scheming. They don’t call her the “Queen of Thorns” for nothing. But we had absolutely no idea of just how cold she was until Episode 3 of Season 7. The Lannisters have just destroyed her home at Highgarden and killed all of her men. She has nothing left, and implores Jaime Lannister to let her die quickly by ingesting poison in a glass of wine.

However, as soon as she drinks the wine, she turns to Jaime with a maniacal glint in her eye and tells him that it was she who had poisoned his son Joffrey. Not only that, she tells Jaime that he should tell Cersei this as well. If you’re going to die, it’s best to take down everyone else around you as well! In Westeros, revenge is a dish best served cold.

#3: The full-on spectacle of fire-breathing dragons attacking

Season 7 was the season that the dragons came fully into their own as stars of “Game of Thrones.” For years, we’ve seen the dragon eggs, and heard all the dragon prophecies. Now, they are coming true! Episode 4 was just epic, with a battle scene unlike any that we have ever seen on “Game of Thrones.” Daenerys swoops down on the back on a dragon, and the mighty Dothraki army marches on the Lannisters. There’s chaos, fire and destruction everywhere. And just when we think that these dragons might make Daenerys invincible, Bronn almost manages to take down one of these fabled beasts with a scorpion bolt crossbow. That’s not a good sign for the dragons – and we quickly find out why in Episodes 5 and 6.

#4: Viserion dies and is resurrected

We’ve already seen the fire and fury of the fire-breathing dragons. We’ve seen all the destruction and chaos they can cause – and then the unthinkable happens – Viserion goes down in battle, the victim of the Night King. He used an ice spear, so Viserion dies.

But the action doesn’t end there because the Night King wants Viserion to fight on the side of the White Walker army. So he resurrects Viserion, ensuring that he can spread death and destruction on the armies of the North. The scene where the dragon’s eyes open back up will chill you to your bones. The eyes are blue, and it’s clear what has happened – Viserion has been resurrected as part of the evil White Walker army! From now on, it will not be Daenerys who controls him, it will be the evil Night King.

#5: Littlefinger dies a horrible, wretched death at the hands of the Starks

For the first six seasons of he show, Littlefinger has been a lying, conniving and manipulative force. Deep down, he has always coveted the power of the Iron Throne, and he has done everything in his power to control the destiny of the throne. Some have considered Littlefinger to be the greatest player in the Game of Thrones.

So it was only natural, given the inherent dynamic of the show, that he must die a horrible, nasty death. The ones who make it happen are Arya and Sansa, who plot to kill Littlefinger. By the end, he is groveling on his knees for mercy, but they don’t care – Arya cuts his throat with a dagger. The full range of emotions on display here is just terrifying.

#6: The Wall protecting the North falls

If there was a way to end Season 7, it was this – the collapse of the Wall protecting the North from the White Walkers and the Night King. And the way it happens is just epic – you have the marching army of the undead headed to the Wall, and then out of nowhere, the Night King flies in on Viserion. The dragon is breathing blue hell-fire everywhere it goes, and the Wall falls. You know what happens next – the army of the undead now has full access to all of Westeros. It’s time to be very afraid.

As a result, Season 8 is going to be even more epic. Will Jon Snow and Daenerys be able to combine forces to hold back this mighty army? Who will finally win the Game of Thrones? Season 7 just showed us how crazy things can get on “Game of Thrones,” and it looks like Season 8 is once again going to deliver everything that we’ve loved about this show with plenty of action-packed adventure and drama.

TV Review: HBO’s “The Leftovers”

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HBO’s “The Leftovers,” which recently completed its third and final season in June 2017, continually challenged fans to figure out the true meaning of the show, especially when each new episode seemed to challenge what we thought we already knew. Even when you didn’t actually know what was happening in the show, though, it was clear that you were watching great TV. As one TV critic suggested, HBO’s “The Leftovers” will go down as a “masterpiece” and “one of the all-time greats.”

HBO’s “The Leftovers” was a grand attempt to make sense of this world

The reason why “The Leftovers” was so challenging to watch – and why so many dedicated fans have created “explainer” YouTube videos trying to sort out all the clues and signs – is because the HBO show was really an attempt to make sense of this world that we live in. Why did “The Sudden Departure” take place – and how should humanity try to make sense of its aftermath?

In the show, viewers are seemingly given two very stark choices: either you are on the side of science and rationalism, or you are on the side of faith and mysticism. The cult-like Guilty Remnant, of course, was the belief in faith and mysticism that many adopted to help make sense of why 140 million people died with no apparent reason. It all had to be part of a grand design by some higher being, right?

If you think about it, this is the same choice that has been faced by humanity throughout civilization – do we trust our scientists and rational thought, or do we trust our prophets and organized religion? Somehow, we need to decide on how and why this world was created, and what are the rules for its existence. So you either believe in the Big Bang and the birth of the cosmos developing according to scientific principles, or you believe that the Earth was created by a higher being, with man being made in the image of that creator.

For that reason, so many fans have speculated that Kevin Garvey, Jr. – the protagonist at the center of “The Leftovers” – might be a symbol for the messiah that people are waiting for. Is he a Christ-like figure? Was he meant to die in order to prevent a further apocalypse? So many questions like that have been asked by fans and ardent viewers of this show.

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HBO’s “The Leftovers” kept challenging our notions of “normalcy”

In the wake of the Sudden Departure, in which 140 million people disappeared without a trace, the goal of humanity was to restore some sort of normalcy in the world. And, yet, again and again, the show’s writers kept us searching for that elusive normalcy. Things continued to happen for inexplicable reasons.

The show reminded us that everyone wants to feel “in control” of their own life. Normalcy, then, can be defined as a condition in which we feel like we’re in control, that the Earth is not tottering away in some random direction that we can’t grasp.

And, again, “The Leftovers” resonates so strongly with viewers because, often, the world seems to be losing its sense of normalcy, and that’s when people struggle the most. During the Cold War, for example, people accepted as “normalcy” the fact that two great powers could destroy themselves overnight in a matter of minutes with nuclear weapons – and that it was perfectly normal to keep building more and more of those weapons. Our new normalcy is that an extremist radical might walk down any street in the West and try to blow us up.

In “The Leftovers,” one of the major themes seems to be that “you can lose anyone at any time.” Again and again, we are reminded of that in the show. Over the course of three seasons, it is this sense of loss that continues to stay in our minds and imaginations. We’re shown that characters can’t trust their emotions, and they can’t even trust the way their senses perceive the world around them. So they want an explanation, or something to hold on to, even if the option is not a good one. That is why people embrace false prophets – they are simply looking for an answer.

Along the way, “The Leftovers” made us question the difference between “death” and “departure.” A death gives you a sense of finality, a way to get closure. A departure, on the other hand, is not about finality because there is an expectation of a return. For every “departures” lounge, there is an “arrivals” lounge. And so, by naming the global cataclysm “The Sudden Departure,” the characters in the show told us that they were unwilling to accept the loss of their loved ones as an act of finality. There was a chance that they would return.

HBO’s “The Leftovers” was a brilliant rumination on religion and cults

It’s hard not to bring religion into the picture when analyzing “The Leftovers.” The cult-like Guilty Remnant is surely one of the most memorable creations on TV. In fact, the Guilty Remnant (or just “The GR” for true fans) was such an indelible part of the show that when HBO threatened to terminate the show, fans dressed up in all white just like the members of the cult, created signs similar to the ones created by the GR, and marched on HBO headquarters in New York City.

And there were so many great scenes that made us re-think everything we thought we knew about organized religion and cults. The two, in many ways, are the same. And we see that in “The Leftovers” – the same people today who might join a church and attend service on Sunday are also the same people who might panic and join the Guilty Remnant.

And the show did not waver in taking on concepts like purgatory, resurrection, the after life, or the feeling that someone must eventually suffer for all of our sins on this Earth. It made us realize that part of what makes us human is the fact that we must grope with “loss” in our lives.

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Through it all, HBO’s “The Leftovers” gave us some brilliant flashbacks, many of the completely without dialogue – like the flashback in Season 3 of the impending apocalypse in the year 1844. The show gave us some completely unexplainable signs, symbols and clues – and asked us to make sense of it all. Were the flashing red traffic signals some kind of sign sent from above – or just a random, unexplained occurrence?

And here’s the thing – even after watching all three seasons, and then re-watching them again, it might just be the case that your analysis of what it all means will change again. That’s the mark of a great show, and one that has elements of true profundity. It’s clear that HBO’s “The Leftovers” was one of the best TV shows ever.

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Categories TV

Why “Young Sheldon” Will Never Measure Up to “Big Bang Theory”

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It’s fashionable among TV critics and viewers to immediately hail any new prequel or sequel as superior to the original. As a result, it was almost predictable that after just a single episode, TV critics were rushing to proclaim “Young Sheldon” as better than “Big Bang Theory,” an all-time great CBS sitcom. But here are all the reasons why “Young Sheldon” will never measure up to “The Big Bang Theory.”

Reason #1: “Young Sheldon” is a spinoff with nothing new to say

Yes, “Young Sheldon” has been touted as an “origin story.” And, yes, it promises to shed light on how the older Sheldon Cooper grew up to be who he is. But let’s face it, “Young Sheldon” is a spinoff with nothing new to say. It is, to be quite cynical, just a cash grab by the folks at CBS.

Even TV critics appear to be baffled by what exactly “Young Sheldon” is trying to be. It’s not a true sitcom (more of that later), and it’s not a family drama, either. What we have is a show based around the antics of a 9-year-old kid (Iain Armitage, playing the young Sheldon Cooper) and a voice over by Jim Parsons (who plays the older Sheldon Cooper in “Big Bang Theory”). But is this really capable of becoming a mega, 10-season hit like “Big Bang Theory”? At some point, the cuteness wears off.

Reason #2: “Young Sheldon” isn’t even the best single-camera comedy on TV

The one thing that’s important to note is that “Young Sheldon” has the look and feel of a made-for-TV movie, and less of a true network sitcom. It all has to do with camera angles and how it’s filmed. “Big Bang Theory” was a classic multi-camera sitcom filmed live in front of a studio audience. There is laughter from the audience, and the show has the quality and feel of a play or staged drama.

Contrast that to “Young Sheldon,” which employs a single-camera format. This might not sound like a big deal to non-cinema buffs, but it has a huge impact on how you process the show. The pacing of the show is different, and the look and feel is different. It has much more of the look of a film. And that was intentional – show creator Chuck Lorre said it was because he didn’t want to subject his young child stars to the potential trauma of a live studio taping.

But, as one TV critic has pointed out, that results in “Young Sheldon” looking like “an episode of ‘One Life To Live’ that’s trying to be funny.” Yikes! That’s not exactly going to make “Young Sheldon” one of the all-time best shows, is it? Moreover, as other TV critics have pointed out, there are at least two other single-camera shows that are superior to “Young Sheldon” – “The Goldbergs” (on ABC) and “The Middle” (also on ABC). In other words, what chance does “Young Sheldon” ever have of measuring up to “Big Bang Theory” if it’s not even the best comedy of its type currently on TV?

Reason #3: “Young Sheldon” falls flat when it tries to joke about science

Let’s face it – the reason why everyone loved “Big Bang Theory” was because of the nerdy characters and the jokes involving science. Remember the scene where Sheldon and Leonard are trying to push a piece of furniture up a flight of stairs, and are making jokes about physics and gravity? And the nerdiness of Sheldon and his friends was what made the show work – it was amusing to see how they dealt with every day concerns like dating, relationships and being an adult.

With “Young Sheldon,” though, we lose all that. The funniest jokes thus far have involved a toy train set and Newtonian physics. But there’s nothing really funny about a 9-year-old kid with punch lines involving physics – it just sounds like a lot of forced humor from a really overworked scriptwriting team and a cute kid memorizing his lines. Really, how hard did they have to work to set up a joke involving trains and physics?

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Even worse, little Iain Armitage has admitted in an interview that he’s never really watched any episodes of “Big Bang Theory.” WTF? When asked which of the episodes was his favorite, he couldn’t even name one. Later, he claimed that he enjoyed hearing Jim Parsons (as the older Sheldon Cooper) use the word “Bazinga!” a lot. So we’re asking a young kid who has never watched the show in his life to really give us the true Sheldon Cooper?

Yes, Iain Armitage is fabulously cute and wears a bowtie quite nicely. But this is really a show for a certain type of audience that likes “cute family comedies.” It’s not for fans of “Big Bang Theory.” It might win over a new type of audience, but it’s hard to see hard-core fans of “Big Bang Theory” hanging around once they see how CBS has essentially pulled a bait-and-switch with them.

Reason #4: “Little Sheldon” lacks the freshness and inventiveness of “Big Bang Theory”

Ten years ago, if you had asked anyone whether a TV sitcom featuring nerdy Cal Tech scientists and no proven star was ever going to be a hit, how many people would have raised their hands? All “Big Bang Theory” really had going for it at the time was a fresh, inventive premise and the track record of Chuck Lorre. Other shows might had a lone scientific genius, or some nerdy character. But an entire show built around nerds and nerd jokes? That was fresh and new.

In contrast, “Young Sheldon” is much more in the vein of “The Wonder Years.” It’s been done before. It’s just a nice family comedy. Seen there, done that. It might get some nice ratings for a few years, but it’s unlikely to become a decade-long comedic favorite.

As a result, “Young Sheldon” will never measure up to “Big Bang Theory.” It’s really just a spinoff that CBS is hoping to mine for ratings gold. (They ordered a full series after just one episode!) Yes, the iconic photo of a cute kid wearing a bowtie has been a big hit, but will the show really turn out to be a big hit as well? Long-time fans of “Big Bang Theory” know the answer to that.

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Categories TV

4 Things You Need To Know About the New “Star Trek: Discovery” Universe

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Even the casual “Star Trek” fan is well aware of the assorted heroes, villains and alien species that inhabit the Star Trek universe. Vulcans and Klingons are now very much a part of our everyday vocabulary, and even the mission statement of the Star Trek Federation – to boldly go where no one has gone before – is something that has become a part of the pop culture mainstream. But here comes “Star Trek: Discovery” and it already looks like it is going to change some of what we thought we know about this Star Trek universe.

Klingons are a lot more complicated than you ever imagined

Let’s start with the Klingons, since they appear throughout the first two episodes of “Star Trek: Discovery.” In fact, the pilot begins with a Klingon point of view. We see them as different kind of antagonist. If, in earlier iterations of the Star Trek series, they were uniformly presented as evil, war-like and obsessed with values like honor and tradition, here we see a much more nuanced type of Klingon.

In many ways, it starts with how they look, which some critics have described as “Afro-futurist.” Others have described them as having a “gothic” look that wouldn’t be out of place on “Game of Thrones.” They definitely come with a new look, everything from their faces (both their nostrils and mouths) to the armor they wear (which looks much more impressive, filled with spikes). And the language they speak is also different. It used to sound much more Slavic, but now it has the rhythm and cadence of a tribal language.

Moreover, we see their battle against the Federation as being motivated by much more than just martial aggression or avarice. It has become almost a holy war, in which they are avenging the loss of one of their spiritual leaders. We still do not want to root for the Klingons, but we also realize that they might be more complex as a species than we ever gave them credit for. It’s hard not to think of them as a modern-day version of Islamic extremists, only set in outer space.

The Federation is not exactly a shining beacon of democracy and freedom

One linchpin of every Star Trek film and TV show is that the Federation is some kind of monolithic entity dedicated to bringing peace and understanding to the universe. It is a force of optimism and hope, and full of the wonder of mankind exploring the cosmos.

But “Star Trek: Discovery” seems to ground the Federation in much more of a contemporary ethos. From this perspective, the aims and motivation of the Federation might not be as pure of heart as we would like. And it is not monolithic – it is filled with tension, conflict and doubt. And it is also polyglot, no longer offering a single view of mankind and what its goals should be as it explores the universe.

You can think of this as the difference between a Star Trek for the Cold War world and a Star Trek of the post-9/11 world. In the Cold War world, America was a dominant superpower, bringing peace and prosperity to the world. It was very easy to discern the power of good and the power of evil.

However, in the post-9/11 world, the whole element of Islamic radicalism, combined with the rise of multi-polar world and emerging markets, has changed the equation. In many ways, “Star Trek: Discovery” is grounded in contemporary geopolitics, showing us how all of the fundamental tensions and conflicts in today’s society will inform, ultimately, how we explore the universe.

The Vulcans are no longer a purely rational species capable of perfect decision-making

Perhaps one of the most fascinating and most compelling characters ever to appear on Star Trek was Dr. Spock, the legendary Vulcan. He came to symbolize pure scientific rationalism. He was able to think and reason about emotion, and with limited exceptions, never let these emotions influence his decision-making.

But now it looks like “Star Trek: Discovery” is willing to challenge some of what we thought we knew about Vulcans. For example, consider the “Vulcan hello.” This term quickly becomes shorthand for acting very emotionally and irrationally when meeting someone – as in the Vulcans opening fire on the Klingons before ever trying to establish rational, diplomatic contact with them. It is offered up as a symbol of the hypocrisy found within the Federation.

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And there’s another angle here, and that’s the role of First Officer Michael Burnham (played by Sonequa Martin-Green), who herself has a Vulcan past, being raised on the planet Vulcan by Spock’s father Sarek. Part of the two-part pilot episode, in fact, has shown us her struggling with this Vulcan background. You might expect her to be calm, rational and un-emotional when making decisions (especially since she attended the Vulcan Science Academy) – but nothing could be further from the truth. This is clearly a new take on the Vulcans.

“Star Trek: Discovery” shows us a brand new alien species

One of the new characters in “Star Trek: Discovery” is the Discovery’s chief science officer, Lt. Saru. As a Kelpien, he has hoof-like feet and is also biologically capable of sensing impending death. We are told that the Kelpiens are largely raised like cattle on their home planet, and that they are essentially a race that’s been doomed to become food for a more dominant predator species. There’s a whole plotline in the pilot episode, in which Saru senses the impending death and destruction brought on by the Klingons. He also reveals the tragic back story of the Kelpiens.

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And that’s not all – this new “Star Trek: Discovery” offers plenty of new characters (including the first openly gay character), plenty of high-tech Hollywood special effects, and plenty of fascinating back stories to bring us up-to-date with the first ever version of “Star Trek,” which appeared in the 1960s. It’s futuristic and yet retro at the same time, and that means there’s a good chance that “Star Trek: Discovery” is going to absolutely blow your mind if you’re a Trekkie.

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Categories TV

Have “Grey’s Anatomy” Viewers Had Enough?

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It’s hard to believe, but we’re getting ready for the 14th season of the primetime medical soap opera “Grey’s Anatomy,” which will officially launch on September 28. The show is still going strong after all these years, and still ranks as the #1 ABC primetime drama. Show creator Shonda Rimes and star Ellen Pompeo (who plays Dr. Meredith Grey) have said repeatedly that there are no plans to wind down the series, but there are starting to be signs that the “Grey’s Anatomy” viewers have had enough.

“Grey’s Anatomy” is an anomaly in a Netflix world

Keep in mind, “Grey’s Anatomy” premiered way back in 2005, before the whole idea of binge-watching shows on Netflix became popular. Back then, primetime TV – and especially primetime TV on a Thursday night – was just about the biggest thing that could happen to a show. 14 years ago, it was perfectly normal for a big primetime drama to order 24 episodes and pace them out over a full season.

Flash forward to 2017, though, and the rules of the game have changed. Netflix has made “the binge” a huge part of the cultural mainstream. Shows are meant to be consumed over a lazy weekend, not as “must see TV” during the week. The newest shows coming out of Netflix these days are all 8-, 10- and 12-episode shows. That makes “Grey’s Anatomy” an anomaly in a Netflix world.

Of course, ardent fans of “Grey’s Anatomy” would debate this. Fair enough. There have been plenty of stories documenting how “Grey’s Anatomy” has gotten a second wind after being picked up for streaming by Netflix. The demographics of the show had started to skew older, but the embrace of the show by younger female fans on Netflix has been a godsend. “Grey’s Anatomy” is now the #2 series among viewers 18-to-34, suggesting that the “Netflix effect” has been very real.

In short, viewers who might have been too young to watch the show back in 2005 have heard all the hype and buzz about the show and decided to become fans. With past seasons available on Netflix, it was relatively easy to get “caught up.” Thus, even if “Grey’s Anatomy” had been losing viewers due to general show fatigue, it was more than making up for it by gaining new Netflix viewers. But that leads us to another very important point…

Show creator Shonda Rimes just signed a major new deal with Netflix

See? It is impossible to ignore Netflix in today’s TV world. And that’s exactly what happened in August 2017, when Netflix locked up “Grey’s Anatomy” creator Shonda Rimes in an exclusive multi-year contract. According to the terms of the deal, Shonda Rimes has agreed that any new shows she creates will be for Netflix as a Netflix Original series. Not only that, but also Shonda Rimes has said in recent interviews that she really likes the idea of creating a 10-episode show, and not a full 24-episode show.

Watch out, here come the “Grey’s Anatomy” spin-offs

The surest signal that a show might have reached its “sell by” date is when the spin-offs start coming. It means that viewers are getting tired of seeing all the old characters and all the old settings over and over again. They want something new. And that’s exactly what’s coming in 2018, with a “Grey’s Anatomy” spin-off featuring Seattle firefighters. The show (“Firefighters”) is already attracting buzz, and could be a telling sign that “Grey’s Anatomy” viewers have had enough.

But wait! Haven’t we seen this happen before? Back in 2007, there was a spin-off of “Grey’s Anatomy” called “Private Practice” that ran surprisingly strong from 2007 to 2013. Yes, but that was before actors started to defect from the show. Some of the big-name departures from “Grey’s Anatomy” have included Sandra Oh, who left after 10 seasons, and Patrick Dempsey, who was killed off after 11 seasons.

From what we know, even the show’s actors think that the current version of “Grey’s Anatomy” is getting too “dreary.” Yes, that was the word dropped in an interview about “Grey’s Anatomy” by one of the show’s actors. The idea is that the show is starting to get too focused on death and loss.

From this perspective, the finale of Season 13 – when Seattle Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital got partially destroyed in an explosion – is going to serve as the perfect way to “refresh” the set so that things look younger and lighter. There is a growing realization that the only people who are going to be watching the show very soon are going to be older people with their own medical problems and situations, and that’s something “Grey’s Anatomy” needs to avoid.

“Why walk away from a hit?”

There are two schools of thought when it comes to pop culture (or for just about anything, for that matter). One is that you should keep things going as long as possible, as long as things are working. The other is that you should always try to go out on top.

Think of it from the perspective of professional sports – yes, it’s nice to see the graying 40-year-old hang on for one last season in baseball, but it’s also sad to see the deterioration in skills. From that perspective, it’s better to hang up the spikes when you’ve just had a stellar, MVP season. That’s the way fans want to remember you – not as some injury-riddled part-time player riding out a long legacy.

The same thing is true of “Grey’s Anatomy.” This show is still a primetime juggernaut. It’s still #1 in so many ways. But all the telltale signs are there that things might be falling apart. There are the big star departures (god, we still miss Katherine Heigl!), the upcoming spin-offs, and the changing TV landscape created by Netflix.

Star actress Ellen Pompeo has publicly questioned, “Why walk away from a hit?” Well, the answer is simple: it’s better to go out on top. 14 years is an incredible run, and huge props go to show creator Shonda Rimes for creating one of the best shows ever to appear on primetime TV. But “Grey’s Anatomy” viewers are starting to disappear, and some of them have simply had enough.

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Categories TV