Sunday, 13 December 2015

Top 5: TV Shows and Books




I am a hardcore Netflix binger. There is nothing I love more than snuggling up on my couch with Dave, in my onesie, and smashing out a whole series of a TV show. Romantic, right? When I'm not melting my eyes with television, I am also a little book nerd. I love inflicting my opinions on other people, so here are my Top 5 TV shows and books.





TV




Breaking Bad

Of course, this was going to be on the list. I was really annoying when this was on, insisting that everyone I knew watched it, but I just loved it so much! In case you were living under a rock in 2013, I'll give you a little rundown. Walter White is a high school chemistry teacher that is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, and because the American healthcare system is a complete pile of shit, resorts to becoming a meth kingpin to pay for his medical bills. I don't want to say much in case the spoiler police are watching, but I will say this: It's fucking incredible. It's funny, intelligent, and ingenious. The media student in me salivates at the stunning cinematography and the absolutely incredible characters. Just watch it, okay?





F.R.I.E.N.D.S

If you really need me to tell you why Friends is so good, you need to stop whatever you're doing and watch it right now. I watch Friends when I'm hung-over, sad, happy, suffering a personal crisis or whatever. It caters for every mood because it's just so watchable.





Daredevil/Jessica Jones

I was pretty unbearable when Daredevil first came out. I'm unbearable most of the time, but I'm particularly bad when a great TV show comes out.  I didn't really like the Ben Affleck movie, so I was pretty sceptical at first. Charlie Cox stars as Matt Murdock, a blind lawyer by day, crime fighter at night. Daredevil is surprisingly dark, considering its part in the Marvel universe.

I included Jessica Jones as part of this because I didn't want to take up two separate spaces with Marvel series. Krysten Ritter is Jessica Jones, a former superhero that has opened up her own detective agency after an end to her superhero career. Although I didn't enjoy Jessica Jones as much as Daredevil, I loved it by itself. The cast had its weak links, but the storyline was brilliant. David Tennant out-shines most of the cast as Kilgrave. The series itself is very 'film noir', and approaches otherwise taboo subjects of rape, assault, abortion and PTSD in a very real manner.





Parks and Recreation

Like Friends, I could watch Parks and Recreation all the time. There is not a character I don't love, and it is no doubt where most people were first introduced to the beauty that is Chris Pratt. I simply cannot do Parks and Recreation enough justice. It is shot in the increasingly popular documentary style and follows the lives of government officials. It is so wonderfully funny and is home to my favourite TV father figure: Ron Swanson.





Six Feet Under

I got on the Six Feet Under bandwagon late. Way late. Six Feet Under is unlike any show I’ve ever seen before, which is mostly to do with its unrelenting focus on death. It’s a show about a family that owns a funeral home and follows their journeys within their personal lives, and the lives of the deceased that they encounter. As long as I can remember, I have always had a morbid fascination with death, and I think one of the reasons that Six Feet Under was so popular was that it forces the viewer to face their own mortality. It’s intriguing and has some of the most heart-wrenching scenes I’ve ever seen on television.


Books


Enduring Love 

Enduring Love is my favourite book ever. It’s a book about two strangers that meet during a freak ballooning accident, Joe and Jed. They exchange a passing glance, and this turns into a raging obsession for Jed who suffers from de Clérambault's syndrome. Ian McEwan writes, as always, beautifully as the character relationships unfold and builds to a tense and exciting climax. The opening chapter for Enduring Love is beyond words. I read the whole book in a few hours, I was so painfully hooked. I had to have a little lie down after I’d finished because I was just emotionally exhausted. If you love thriller novels, with complex characters, you need to read this.





Misery

Misery is a psychological horror by Stephen King. This was the first piece I’d ever read by Stephen King, and it definitely lived up to the hype for me. The novel focuses on Paul Sheldon, famous writer of the fictional Misery Chastain novels. He is caught in a devastating car accident but recused by devoted fan Annie Wilkes. Annie takes him home, nurses him back to health, but upon finding out what happens to Misery in his newest book forces him to change the story – no matter what it takes. I really struggled to put Misery down, and ended up walking home (carefully!) from work one night reading! If you've never read anything by Stephen King before, Misery is a good gateway novel.





Exquisite Corpse

When I was at University, I did a module on "Evil in America" and wrote an essay on serial killer representation. This was a book that was recommended to me by a lecturer. It is a story about Andrew Compton, an English convicted homosexual serial killer, necrophiliac, and cannibal. He meets Jay Byrne, an artist, who shares the same dangerous tastes. Andrew Compton is based on real life serial killer Dennis Nilsen, and Jay Byrne is based on the notorious Jeffrey Dahmer. It's so gruesome, I did have to put the book down for a while and watch a couple of Disney movies. I am utterly fascinated by serial killers in the media (as I type this, I have a documentary called "Cropsey" on in the background), and I should probably follow this up with the fact that I'm not a complete psycho. Promise!





The Comfort of Strangers

Just in case you hadn't noticed by this point, my taste in literature is dark as fuck. The Comfort of Strangers is a novella that I picked up in university and is another one of my favourites by Ian McEwan. The book is about Mary and Colin, a couple on holiday in an unnamed city (though it is heavily implied that they're in Venice). One evening they meet another couple, with a very unusual relationship. It's hard to say a lot without spoiling the plot, as it is such a short story. The book is full of sexual depravity, and McEwan's writing style is so intentionally vague it's almost haunting.




The Fault in Our Stars

I don't normally read YA books, but I'll always make an exception for John Green. The book follows the life of sixteen-year-old cancer patient Hazel Grace Lancaster, who meets and falls in love with Augustus Waters in a cancer support group. I ugly cried while reading this. Not a cute little single tear rolling down my cheek; ugly unashamed sobs. This is the only book that has ever brought that kind of emotion out in me, and in a sick way, I loved it. It is beautiful, philosophical and funny in parts. I'd recommend this book to absolutely anyone.


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