The Superhero Effect

Hey TV fanatics! I don’t know about you guys but I don’t consider myself to be a big superhero fan or expert, I get confused with all the alternate universes and the different characters.

I’ve seen some big blockbuster movies like, Spiderman (Maguire and Garfield), The Avengers (only the first one), Thor (again, only the first) and most recently Deadpool, which I actually really enjoyed.

I’ve also never read a comic book in my life, which would probably help to understand everything that goes on in the DC and Marvel universes.

But…with that being said, I have grown to like and obsess about some of TV’s superhero-based series. Of course, it’s typical of me to like something more when it’s on TV than when it’s in theatres.

Let me tell you about my two superhero obsessions, Jessica Jones and Supergirl and how I binged their first seasons in under a week.

 


Jessica Jones (Netflix Original)

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Jessica Jones is an original Netflix series that premiered November 20, 2015 and has been renewed for a second season.

Krysten Ritter stars as the title character from Marvel, a former superhero who opens a detective agency after an end to her superhero career.

The show’s dark tone is really different from any superhero movie (not that I’ve seen much) I’ve seen. The show’s approach to sexual assault, sexuality and PTSD is very real and gritty, which I really like.

Anyone with a good heart and happens to have superpowers wants and needs to be helping people, and when Jessica’s superhero career ends abruptly the only way she can continue helping others is to become a private detective.

She’s rough around the edges, so her alcoholism and her dry and sarcastic sense of humor help to deal with her troubled past and her PTSD.

Since I’m not familiar with these characters, I can’t tell you if the actors do a good job of portraying them true to the comics, but I can certainly tell you that there’s not one bad actor on this series. With Carie-Anne Moss as Jeri Hogarth, a powerful and somewhat manipulative lawyer, and the incredible David Tennant as Kilgrave, a mind controller and Jessica’s prime enemy, you can’t go wrong.

It’s a dark, real, gritty and sarcastic series, with a tone not unlike the old black and white detective-mystery films.You’ll find yourself caught in this world pretty quickly and you’ll be kinda sad when it’s over.

It’s a very “bingeable” series, with only 13 episodes all on Netflix. I strongly recommend it!

Supergirl (CBS/Global)

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Supergirl is an action-drama based on the DC Comics character Supergirl (Kara Zor-El). Unlike Jessica Jones, this series has a lighter tone to it, but still deals with major themes and events.

Melissa Benoist stars as Kara Zor-El, an alien from the planet Krypton who was sent to Earth after her planet was destroyed and her family with it. Her pod was thrown off-course in the blast, and she wandered in a “Phantom Zone” where time didn’t exist, for 13 years. When she finally arrived on Earth her cousin known as Superman, was saving the world and she found herself without a purpose.

The series starts when the awkward and clumsy Kara Danvers (a surname she gained from her adoptive family), is forced to reveal her powers when her adoptive sister Alex Danvers (played by Chyler Leigh) is trapped on a plane engulfed in flames.

Now that her real identity has been revealed, Kara becomes Supergirl and starts her superhero career.

The show follows Kara/Supergirl’s missions to save National City, her personal struggles with her past and her family, and her journey to find her purpose in a world where humans don’t all appreciate outsiders.

After hiding her powers for over a decade Kara gets to really realize and rejoice in her potential and her strength. The show is not full of cynicism like Jessica Jones (though the cynicism in Jessica Jones is appropriate), Supergirl is full of heart and hope.

Supergirl airs every Monday on CBS (Global in Canada), a second season hasn’t been confirmed yet, but I’m pretty sure it’ll get one. 🙂


 

That’s it for my superhero overload! Tune in next week for more TV news!

Thanks for reading.

-Marika

 

 

 

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Do it for the Vine!

Do it for the Vine!

Hey guys! I’ve got a special post for you today! So as you may, or may not know, I actively use the short-form video sharing app Vine. It’s probably my favourite app ever, mostly because I get to be weird in a way that I couldn’t be on Facebook (because my mom follows me on there so that’d be awkward.)

So here’s why I think Vine is awesome and why I think you should use it.

Six-second videos

Telling a narrative or a story in only six seconds is a challenge but when you succeed man is it good! Our attention span has shortened quite a bit and now six seconds is about all we can take before moving on to the next big thing. Getting someone to react, whether it be laughing, crying or screaming, in six seconds is a feat in itself. It helps to have a good creative central idea that the Vine can be about. Speaking of the Creative Big Idea, Vine is also a great tool for advertising!

Advertising benefits

Vine stars have teamed up with big companies like HP, Samsung and Trident and used their huge following (some of them bigger than Buzzfeed) to advertise a product in a Vine. One of the most successful campaigns has been with the HP x360, “Bend the Rules” where viners like Robby Ayala and Zach King are seen bending the laptop and doing other things to show its versatility. See the 30-second spot made entirely with Vines, here!

This is a great way to reach your audience if it happens to be teens and tweens. When their favourite viners are endorsing a product they’ll be more inclined to think that product rocks.

Youtube vs Vine

Don’t get me wrong I love YouTube, but I love Vine more. The age of viral cat videos and “Charlie Bit My Finger” are over, now it’s all about “What Are Those?” “Why You Always Lying?” and “Peanut Butter Baby“.  *Why You Always Lying? was in fact, a YouTube video but once it got condensed to Vine format it blew up really fast. 

YouTube is now almost entirely professional, with stars like Grace Helbig and Tyler Oakley having bestseller books and professional careers. All of that is great but the teens and tweens of today care about instant entertainment that they can get on their phone at any time, and that’s what Vine gives them.

Check out this cool video with Vine star Thomas Sanders and YouTube sensation Jon Cozart, Vine vs YouTube: The Song. The guys battle it out in a song where each of them tries to convince the other that their platform is better. It’s funny, well-written and they’re great singers!

Some of my favourite Viners! Look them up!

Thomas Sanders

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Steph Barkley

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Manon Mathews

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Me! Marika Laczko – you should definitely check out my vines here!

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So basically, what I’m saying is you should sign up for Vine right now and start looping! Because nowadays the fastest way to get Internet famous is on Vine. So do it for the Vine!

Thanks for reading this special post and have a great day!

-Marika

Web series: An emerging medium

Web series: An emerging medium

Hi friends! Today I’m talking about web series, which are series of scripted videos in episodic form, released on the Internet. It’s like a television series but it isn’t released on a TV channel –it survives only on the Internet. Just like a regular TV series, a popular web series can have thousands and even millions of fans from around the world and have millions of views. Since it’s on the Internet the viewership can be seen right away with the number of views on each episode.

With that being said, let me introduce to you my two favourite web series, Carmilla and Lauren.

Carmilla (Canadian)

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This is the little Canadian series that could!  This web series premiered on the KindaTV YouTube channel on August 19, 2014 and U by Kotex is the executive producer of the web series. This web series is told only through the video blogs (vlogs) of first-year journalism student Laura, played by up-and-coming Canadian actress Elise Bauman. When Laura’s roommate goes missing Laura begins investigating, but in the meantime she’s given a new roommate called Carmilla, played by the mysterious and alluring Natasha Negovanlis, and they form quite an unusual relationship.

Carmilla is actually the very first web series I ever watched, I was mindlessly scrolling through Tumblr one day and the blogs I followed were all freaking out about this new series being broadcasted only on Youtube. So that peaked my interest and I started tuning in every Tuesday and Thursday (that’s when the episodes would come out).

Carmilla has been one of the most successful web series ever earning multiple AfterEllen Visibility Awards for it’s amazing portrayal of the LGBTQ community, and most recently a Canadian Screen Award for best Digital Media Program/Series – Fiction.

So since you’re always on Youtube anyways, why not take a look at this great little Canadian web series!

Lauren (American)

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Troian Bellisario (Pretty Little Liars) and Jennifer Beals (The L Word, Flashdance) both stared in this poignant drama about a female soldier fighting and standing up for herself after being raped by a fellow male soldier. The web series took on the pretty serious and somewhat controversial topic of rape in the military, and it sparked a wave of solidarity online. Using the hashtag #ididright, the series showed that telling someone about the assault and standing up for yourself is never the wrong thing to do. But it also showed the huge sexism and double standard that still exists for women in the military.

Lauren (Troian Bellisario) fights for justice in a world of strict rules and regulations and isn’t getting the support she deserves, especially from her superior Major Jo Stone, beautifully played by Jennifer Beals.

Lauren was produced by WIGS, a YouTube channel that is all about telling women’s stories.

Lauren is a beautifully shot, dramatic and poignant series with incredible actors but more importantly, it tells the truth. It tells the story of all the “Laurens” out there who have been mistreated and assaulted without any punishment for their abusers. It tells the story of the physical and emotional scars that come from that abuse and it shines a light on some of the most hidden secrets in the military.

A must-watch for sure! You can find both seasons of Lauren on the Youtube channel WIGS.


That’s it for me! Now go surf that Internet you’re so fond of and indulge yourself on some quality web series content. Thanks for reading and have a great long weekend!

-Marika

 

Theatre review: Reservations by Steven Ratzlaff

Theatre review: Reservations by Steven Ratzlaff

Hey TV fanatics, today I won’t be talking about TV but rather its equally amazing cousin– theatre! Yay!


 

On Tuesday I went to see a play called Reservations presented by Theatre Projects Manitoba at The Rachel Browne Theatre. I absolutely love going to see plays, I just love seeing people interact with each other live, and this was no different but I do have some mixed feelings about this particular piece.

Reservations is actually made of two one-hour plays, Pete’s Reserve and Standing Reserve.

Pete’s Reserve is about the decision of a Mennonite farmer to give his land back to the Siksika Nation and his relationship with his daughter as she fights to keep the land she thought was going to be hers.

Standing Reserve is about a dispute between a married couple and the Aboriginal CFS agency that care for their foster children.

I like the concept of having two plays that go together with the same theme, but the fact that they were played by the same actors threw me off a little. Though that’s just a minor critique as I got used to the new characters pretty quickly. The thing that probably bothered me the most was that the plays didn’t seem to have any resolution.

In Pete’s Reserve we never get to find out if Pete gave the land to the Siksika Nation, even though we have a pretty good idea what his intentions are. I would’ve liked to see more of Anna’s attempts to stop her father and get the land for herself.

Standing Reserve was more like a standing lecture–literally a lecture during a play– I’ve never seen that before. If I would of wanted to hear a lecture about indigenous issues and CFS I would of gone to one. For this play I would’ve  wanted to see more of Denise’s story and also the kids. I wanted to see Jenny and Mike interact with their kids not them telling me how loved they were. This second act needed more showing and less telling.

As a visual person I like when someone can tell a story with images and sound, and that’s one thing Reservations did very well. Both plays used images and sometimes video projected onto various screens to illustrate the setting and time. I give light and projecting designer Hugh Conacher props for that.

Pete’s Reserve‘s wheat fields gently blowing in the wind demonstrated that the characters were on a farm and shots of the moon glowing in the night set a peaceful yet eerie tone.  Some sheets with air blowing through them were set-up at the far end of the stage also helped create the field illusion.

Standing Reserve had a more conservative look, with columns to show the University of Manitoba and videos of german philosopher Martin Heidegger during the lecture.

Another plus was the acting. I have to say that I was impressed at the level of acting, because I had never seen experimental theatre like this, so I didn’t know what to expect. In both plays playwright and actor Steven Ratzlaff was always a stern, logical and analytic character, whereas the two other female actors, Sarah Constible and Tracey Nepinak were more emotional and revealing characters.

Sarah Constible played Anna and Jenny two characters that the audience couldn’t really root for–at least I didn’t. It’s a shame because I was getting annoyed at Anna’s whining about the land and at Jenny’s ignorance about indigenous culture. Having the male character be the “sane and logical” one and the woman be the “crazy and ignorant” one seemed a little sexist to me.

Tracey Nepinak played Esther and Denise the third wheel to the main dynamic showed with Ratzlaff and Constible. I was a little disappointed to see that she wasn’t the focus, since the play talks about indigenous people and she is Cree.

After the play was over, the actors and other crew members came back on stage to answer some questions from the audience. I didn’t have anything to ask because I was still trying to figure out the point of these stories. They left me hanging and I was trying to think of my own resolution. Other members did ask some good questions but the answers weren’t very satisfying.

To summarize Reservations is a visually appealing play with good themes, good acting and good potential. In the hands of an indigenous writer, and with some child actors to play the children in Standing Reserve, it would of been even better.

If you want to see it, Reservations will be playing at The Rachel Browne Theatre until March 20.


There you go! I’ll be back next week with some more TV related stuff.

-Marika

 

“Got a secret, can you keep it?” My love-hate relationship with Pretty Little Liars

“Got a secret, can you keep it?” My love-hate relationship with Pretty Little Liars

Hi friends! So today’s post is going to be a little bit of a rant. Though I promise it won’t be annoying, just informative (I hope). 🙂

As a big TV watcher and binger, there aren’t many series that I don’t like. When I find a show that I don’t like as much it’s not the whole series, but it might be certain seasons or characters or just how the show is evolving. Today I’ll be talking about my love-hate relationship with the show Pretty Little Liars.


Pretty Little Liars is a teen drama, mystery/thriller series based on the book series of the same name. It airs on ABC Family, which is now replaced by the Freeform channel.

Set in the town of Rosewood Pennsylvania, the show follows the lives of four teenage girls, Aria Montgomery, Spencer Hastings, Emily Fields and Hanna Marin after the disappearance of their clique’s leader, Alison DiLaurentis.

When the girls reunite one year later, they begin receiving messages from a mysterious “A”, threatening to reveal their deepest and darkest secrets. From this point on, their lives are totally controlled by this “A” and they live in fear of losing their family, friends and even their lives.

Sounds cool right? Yes I know. It was cool, intriguing and suspenseful, I had never seen a teen drama pull off such intrigue before and I was excited. But with all that I, and I assume many of the other viewers, wanted desperately to know who was this “A” and why was he/she terrorizing these girls?

And that’s where I start to come to the “hate” part of my relationship with this show.

As the show’s seasons passed by and “A” wasn’t revealed, the show was just dragging on. Now, all the trouble that the girls were getting into didn’t even faze me anymore.

One, because I knew that none of them would die (I keep coming back to Game of Thrones as an example, for unpredictability, but it’s true. Your favourite character could die at any second and that keeps you on your feet.)

Two, I was getting older (and more mature…well maybe not that one haha), and that meant that all their teenage drama was really getting to me and annoying me. Like how can you even have a boyfriend/girlfriend when this person is out to get you?

Three, I began to realize that everything that was going on in this show wasn’t very plausible. I mean, why did the girls never go to the police? That would of solved everything. Though in the show if the girls do try to get the police to help, “A”‘s tech skills and manipulation will throw everything out the window, it’s frustrating.

In the end, I keep watching it because I just want to know how it ends already. I guess some part of me thinks that if I stop watching I’ll miss some good parts, and that the show will go back to the glory days of seasons 1 and 2.


So if you do end up watching Pretty Little Liars, you’ve been warned. If you’re a hardcore TV watcher like me, you’ll be sucked into the world of Rosewood and the “Liars” and all you’ll want to know is: Who is A?

Alright mini rant over. Hope you have a wonderful weekend, tune in next week for some more TV shenanigans.

-Marika

 

 

The 100

The 100

Hello friends! I’m back with the regular programming in english this week, but I’ll be posting more posts in french in the future. 🙂

Anyways, what have I got for you on this beautiful Saturday morning? It’s another featured show! Yay! This week’s featured show is The 100 on The CW.


 

Premise:

The 100 is a post-apocalyptic drama series following the lives of a group of teens Clarke, Bellamy, Octavia, Jasper, Monty, Raven, Finn and Wells who are some of the first humans to walk the Earth in 97 years. A nuclear war killed almost all life on Earth and the only known survivors lived on 12 space stations in space, together they formed The Ark. 97 years later, in an attempt to search the ground and evaluate if Earth is survivable, 100 young delinquents are sent to the ground partially as an alternative to the death penalty, because they are all under 18 years old, and also to see if humans can survive on Earth again. The series follows their lives and also the people still on The Ark as they try to save what’s left of the human race.

Why you should watch it:

You might say that we’ve had enough of post-apocalyptic stories revolving around teens and young adults, and it’s true, The Hunger Games, The Divergent series, our culture is always playing out different scenarios for the end of the world. In The 100 you’ve got all these young people deemed expendable because of their crimes, struggling to survive on what is essentially an alien planet, and we get to see almost everyone’s story.

Also the reason why I love sci-fi and post-apocalyptic stories so much is because I get to see how the writers and creators envision how our world would look after a devastating event. As the show progresses, the history of the 12 stations is revealed, the characters evolve quickly and some really cool mythology goes with it.

The show also isn’t afraid to raise the stakes and to put the characters in really morally complex situations. Not unlike Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad, just because someone is a main character, it doesn’t mean they’re safe from physical or emotional trauma.

The 100 is essentially a show about surviving and about choices. That every action has a reaction and the limits people can reach to save an entire race and civilisation.

So I highly recommend you watch it! 🙂

The 100‘s third season currently airs on The CW on Thursdays but Netflix adds the new episode every Friday, so that’s cool!

You can watch the trailer for season one here.


As usual thanks for reading and I’ll see you next week!

-Marika

 

En français SVP! Mes séries québécoises préférées

En français SVP! Mes séries québécoises préférées

This post will be entirely in French so if you’re not a frenchie don’t worry, I’ll be back next week with more english language shows. 🙂

Allo tout le monde! J’espère que votre fin de semaine ce passe bien. C’est la première fois que j’écris mes recommandations télé en français, c’est pas mal excitant! Alors aujourd’hui je plonge de la monde de la télé québécoise-tellement de bons programmes viennent de là. Je vais partager les trois meilleures émissions québécoises-bien, selon moi.

Unité 9 (Radio-Canada)

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Si vous avez déjà vu Orange is the new Black, bien Unité 9 est comme la version québécoise de cette série-elle est aussi un peu meilleure.

Cette série créée par Danielle Trottier est l’une des émissions la plus écoutée au Québec. C’est pas surprenant parce que les comédiennes (et comédiens) sont absolument formidables. Guylaine Tremblay joue Marie Lamontagne, une mère de deux enfants, qui est condamnée pour tentative de meurtre de son père et vit dans l’Unité 9 de Lietteville, une prison fédérale pour femmes. On apprend bien vite que Marie n’est en fait pas coupable du meurtre et on la suit, avec d’autres femmes, lorsqu’elle vivent dans cette prison.

Comme Orange is the new Black on apprend pourquoi et comment chacune des femmes on été emprisonnées- ce qui nous permet de former des attachements émotionnels avec elles. On voit aussi la vie des employés de la prison et les relations qu’ils ont avec les détenues.

Unité 9 est une série rempli d’émotions et je vous suggère fortement de la regarder.

Le Coeur a ses Raisons (TVA)

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Est-ce que regardez beaucoup de “soaps” à la télé mais vous arrêtez pas de rire parce que c’est juste tellement ridicule? Bien j’ai l’émission parfaite pour vous!

Le Coeur a ses Raisons est un “soap” ou un feuilleton télévisé parodié qui a diffusé du 3 février 2005 au 3 décembre 2007 sur le réseau TVA.

L’émission suit les mésaventures de la famille Montgomery et leur amis pendant qu’ils font face à des tentatives de meurtre, des complots et d’autres manigances absolument absurdes.

Il y a pas un moment ou je me retrouve pas en train de rire surtout quand mes comédiens préférés exagèrent tellement bien!

Marc Labrèche joue 4 rôles dans cette série: le docteur Brett Montgomery, son frère jumeau Brad et leur soeur Brenda et aussi leur grand-père Clifford Montgomery.

Anne Dorval joue deux rôles: Criquette Rockwell, “semi-célébrité, ex-reporter, businesswoman, mère en devenir, future femme de médecin, sœur d’infirmière explosée, directrice de la programmation de la station de télévision de St-Andrews, déséquilibrée hormonale, artiste de vaudeville hors pair, ex-championne de saut olympique, ex-chanteuse de piano-bar pour les malentendants, légende du petit écran, spécialiste en imitation de licorne, support à lunettes et hystérique notoire,” (j’ai mis toute cette explication parce que parfois elle va s’introduire de cette façon haha) et sa soeur Ashley une infirmière diplômée.

D’autres comédiens formidables apparaissent aussi dans l’émission comme: Pierre Brassard, Pascale Buissières, James Handman et Jean-Michel Anctil.

Le Coeur a ses Raisons est une série humoristique mais sert aussi de critique à comment la vie et l’attitude des riches peut être tellement hypocrite et totalement absurde.

Les Bobos (Télé-Québec)

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Surprise! C’est une autre émission avec Anne Dorval et Marc Labrèche-le duo d’enfer!

Alors oui j’aime beaucoup ces deux comédiens, c’est pour ça que ma dernière recommendation est la série humoristique et satirique, Les Bobos. La série de courte durée était diffusée du 14 septembre 2012 au 29 novembre 2013 sur les ondes de Télé-Québec.

Dans cette série, ont suit la vie des Maxou (Sandrine et Étienne), un couple un peu arrogant du Plateau Mont-Royal à Montréal. Ils n’aiment pas sacrifier confort, élégance et bonne conscience sociale, alors font toujours certain de rester à l’affût de ce qui est branché (c00l).

Les deux personnages sont tellement snob et ce pensent meilleurs que tout les autres. Ils essaient tellement fort d’être “branchés” qu’ils réalisent pas comment stupides et drôles qu’ils ont l’air! Leur commentaire lorsqu’il sont au café ou même à vélo est tellement insensé que c’est difficile de croire comment certaines personnes peuvent être comme ça-mais il y en a.

Voici un extrait absolument hilarant ou Étienne va dans une épicerie dans le quartier Italien de Montréal et pense qu’il connaît absolument tout de la culture italienne et qu’elle est en fait bien représentée dans ce petit supermarché au Québec.


Et voilà! C’est tout pour moi aujourd’hui, je vais faire d’autres recommendations en français dans le futur.

Merci et bonne fin de semaine.

-Marika